All posts by Ed Brown

Farming God’s Way: A picture’s worth a lot of words…

Originally published October 17, 2011.  Care of Creation Kenya continues to collect data on their farming demonstration plots, and after 3.5 years, 27 trials with 5 different crops, they have found Farming God’s Way plots are 250% more productive than adjacent control plots.  Now that’s awesome!

Farming God’s Way is part of Care of Creation’s program in Kenya.  Essentially conservation no-till farming wrapped in a strong envelope of biblical teaching, the program consistently produces yields many times that produced with conventional farming techniques, even in – or better, especially in drought years like the one we’re in now, along with farmers who have a strong biblical framework for their farming work.  440% increased yield is nothing to sneeze at… but enough words!  Here’s a picture just received from Craig Sorley with his comments below:

From Craig:

Attached is a photo from the creation stewardship and farming God’s way workshop we held for 3 days last week with 30 farmers from Mai Mahiu and Ndeiya.  We harvested our onion crop with them.  The control plot produced 17.3kg of onions (as seen on the left of the photo) and the FGW plot produced 76.9 kg (as seen on the right).  The FGW plot produced 4.4 times greater yield!!!

Want to help Craig do more work like this?  Donate here!  (Select “Care of Creation Kenya Projects” in the drop-down list).

Click through for another picture…

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When Science and Faith Shook Hands

(Originally published March 31, 2009.  This is still an important meeting grounds for those of us involved in caring for creation–science helps us know how to best take care of God’s world.  There was a recent article on Today’s Christian Woman entitled, “Embracing Science” that gets into the nitty gritty of why faith and science go hand-in-hand, not in combat but in worship.)

It was a brief and on the surface completely unremarkable conversation. Two conference speakers complimenting each other on their talks, discussing points each one appreciated in the other’s presentation. Continue reading

Martha and the Monarch: Must we do it again?

“Martha,” the last known passenger pigeon. Photo by Carl Hansen, Smithsonian Institution, 1985 (click picture for source)

One hundred years ago last Monday, on September 1, 1914, with the Russian revolution in full swing, World War I raging in France, and in the midst of a thousand other events of note, a single, nondescript bird in a cage in a zoo in Cincinnati Ohio died. A century later, we remember the death of that bird. Why? Martha (Marta in some documents) was the last passenger pigeon still alive, and her passing marks one of the most dismal failures of humanity’s exercise of dominion over God’s creation in all of modern history.

The story of the passenger pigeon is well documented. In the mid-19th century, flocks of birds numbering in the billions streamed across the skies of North America. Huffpost provides one description of many:

At the time of the Civil War, the passenger pigeon was the most numerous bird in all of North America, probably even the world. There were as many as 5 billion birds flying the skies. They ranged throughout the eastern United States, parts of Montana and Texas and north well into Canada. Imagine looking up into the sky today and not being able to see the sun because a flock of birds was so numerous it blocked the light for hours and hours.

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An Apple a Day Revisited

It was a completely unexpected outcome.  Researchers expected that patients would be more content.  They thought they might sleep better.  But nobody expected that redesigning a hospital room would cause people to ask for less pain medication.

The story was in the New York Times last week (In Redesigned Room, Hospital Patients May Feel Better Already – NYTimes.com).  University Medical Center of Princeton NJ needed a new hospital, and decided to try to design a new hospital room from the ground up.  After extensive interviews with patients, nursing staff and many others, the new room was created, tested and eventually incorporated in the new building.  People love it, staff love it: All the rooms are single patient, have large windows looking out, a couch for visitors, even (why didn’t they think of this a century ago???) a continuous handrail from bed to toilet. Continue reading

In Praise Of Porches

World's longest porch (they claim) - Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island MI (Flickr CC License)

This is one of my favorite columns, even five years later.  And quite appropriate for this long holiday weekend. Enjoy! (Originally published July 24, 2009)

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I ‘ve had several opportunities this summer to enjoy some quiet moments on porches.  Not too long ago, I sampled my brother – -in-law’s porch in Bethesda, Maryland, not far from Washington DC.  The day was just right – not too hot, not cold, not very humid.  The porch furniture was just right – lovely couches that allowed me to sit up or lie back,  tall glass of sweet-tea close to the elbow.  The surround-sound soundtrack gave me birds, lawnmowers, airplanes, and an occasional car wandering down the street on the outdoor channel, while the murmur of voices reminded me of family members busy at various tasks inside the house.  Light patterns shifted with alternating clouds and sun, punctuated by an occasional summer rain shower that left almost as soon as it came.

It was a perfect place and a perfect time for reading – and I made the most of it. Continue reading

Fire in the Engine Room! A Parable for Our Time

Most of us have long forgotten the Carnival Splendor debacle, almost four years ago, now.  I bet those passengers haven’t forgotten, though, and neither should we forget the powerful lesson from this incident.  (Published Nov 12, 2010)

The spectacular, ill-fated Carnival Splendor

The word “ordeal” was what caught my attention first.  It was a news story about the Carnival Splendor, one of the largest cruise ships in the world, disabled off the coast of California early this week.  Ordeal?  Amid all that luxury?  This must be journalistic overstatement.

Little by little, the details started to emerge as the ship was towed back to San Diego, then came a flood of reports yesterday after the ship reached port.  Smoky corridors.  Blocked up toilets.  Stench filled hallways.  Interior rooms with no light or ventilation.  And two hour waits to be served hot dog salad and Spam.  (It is a strange footnote to this entire episode that the only thing the cruise line has disputed is that Spam was served to the passengers.  What’s the big deal about Spam among all of the other hardships?  But I digress…) Continue reading