Living More-with-Less

Strengthening Each Other & Organizing Communities

Plain farming.

Dennis Eby serves as an ambassador, of sorts, for plain sect farmers, communicating between Old Order Amish and Mennonite farmers in Lancaster County and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In recent years, the USDA has been creating environmental regulations for farmers, such as controlling manure runoff into streams. Plain sect farmers often aren’t aware of new laws and regulations and aren’t likely to go to the government to learn about new laws or for financial help when starting a new program.

This is where Dennis comes in. As the plain sect outreach coordinator for the Lancaster County Conservation District (LCCD), Dennis informs Plain sect farmers about environmental regulations and about financial opportunities from both public and local sources. The fact that he farmed for twenty-eight years in Lancaster, alongside Amish farmers, helped Dennis secure his position with the LCCD.

"I really enjoy my job with LCCD, especially being able to promote practices that I did on my farm in the 1980s and 1990s," he says. "It is my desire to protect God’s creation and at the same time, produce food to feed our world’s growing population, not only on our farm but also across Lancaster County."

Submitted by Alysha Bergey Landis, Harleysville, Pa.

Composting cafeteria.

A group of students and faculty at Goshen (Ind.) College are exploring the productiveness of composting on a large scale. The 2009-2010 school year brought with it a new food service provider for Goshen College. The company came with many ideas and plans to make food changes on campus, and collaborated with EcoPax, an environmental sustainability group on campus, to implement composting in the school cafeteria.

During the spring of 2010, the group of students and faculty built a composting bin out of wood, plastic, and foam and began collecting food scraps from the dining hall. It took less than two weeks to collect enough food to fill it. Now the group must wait for the food to decompose before they can evaluate the quality and efficiency of the compost. The finished compost will likely be used for a garden on campus or to fertilize trees on campus.

David Weigner, a student at Goshen College and member of EcoPax, says, "We wanted to acknowledge the problem of food waste, and this seemed like a good way to tackle this campus-wide issue."

Submitted by Alysha Bergey Landis, Harleysville, Pa.

For more information

Sample congregational share list: See this list from First Mennonite Church in Bluffton, Ohio, as an example of a congregation-based share list of items and services.

Transition Town Movement: A network of towns committed to responding to climate change.

Parent Trek: A book by Jeanne Zimmerly Jantzi on ways to raise joyful, generous, creative children. Includes reflective questions and practical ideas. Produced by Mennonite Central Committee.

Living Simply with Children: A resource book by Marie Sherlock about raising children who care about people and the planet.

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