I have to admit that I am a bit of a city boy, and while very familiar with coffee and local cafes, I have a fairly limited knowledge of agriculture. In November last year, I had the privilege of taking a team to Vanuatu to visit one of our partners called Nasi Tuan. The people of Tanna Island, known for its active Mount Yusar volcano and for being in one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, have been through a lot. We were there to see the work Nasi Tuan is doing with local Ni-Van smallholder farmers, helping them to grow coffee, vanilla and other crops as part of a long term social enterprise project.

Tims-Blog-3.jpg
The ash emissions from the active Yasur volcano (in the background), create nutrient-rich soils ideal for coffee growing conditions.

It came as a huge relief to hear that Tanna Island was spared the devastation of Cyclone Harold that recently hit the northern Vanuatu islands of Pentecost and Espiritu Santo. The people of Tanna have worked so hard to recover after Cyclone Pam devastated the island in 2015. Adding to the impact of Covid-19 onto their fragile economy and very limited healthcare system would be yet another setback and potentially fatal blow for the community.
 
Planting the trees and crops ahead of time takes a great deal of faith and commitment from local farmers, as they put their trust in coffee and vanilla production as a new form of income generation that is very different from their traditional cropping. It takes courage to invest in new ways of doing things in the hope of better returns and a more resilient future.
 
One memory that stood out, was when we visited a smallholder farmer called Pusin and his family. What we witnessed was an established and thriving farm that was producing high yields of coffee. There was plenty of shade from established trees planted three years earlier, the coffee plants and mixed crops were thriving in a lush environment. He then led us down a path to the end of this cropping area, and in stark contrast, showed us a dry barren space that was desolate. This was what the farm was like three years ago, he said. Through hard work, sweat and passion, Pusin and his family (with the support of Nasi Tuan) have transformed this land into a thriving productive farm. The farm is having a huge impact on his family, and the wider community, by employing workers.

Tims-Blog-2.jpg
Pusin and his family, holding coffee and chocolate made in New Zealand using coffee beans from Tanna Island.


It also takes great faith and commitment from local NZ churches to support the work of Nasi Tuan. I brought with me a lingering question about the role of the Church in supporting aid and development work. How can Jesus be made known through agriculture? What I discovered was inspiring. It starts with Jeffery Lahva, director of Nasi Tuan, and his team, a group of passionate and respected leaders. They fully live out their Christian faith in the work they do. Work begins with daily devotions, and staff are all encouraged to be part of local church communities. Nasi Tuan actively lives out its Christian values in a very practical way to all the 500 plus farmers with whom the staff interact with every week.

Tims-Blog-1.jpgJeffery (far left), some of the Nasi Tuan staff and myself (far right) with a vanilla plantation in the background.


For someone new to Social Enterprise projects, Nasi Tuan was a great introduction.
Drinking coffee from the beans produced by Nasi Tuan has a whole new level of meaning. They tell a rich and full story of a beautiful community being transformed through the holistic care and practical support of Nasi Tuan. The ultimate fruit of this labour is seeing the evidence of people flourishing both physically and spiritually, that leaves both great memories and a wonderful taste behind.
 
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”



Tim-(2).jpg
Tim Brown is Tearfund’s
South Island Church Relationship Manager 



 

Recent posts

Coal, oil and gas, oh my! But what about fashion? Here

Coal, oil and gas, oh my! But what about fashion? Here's what happened at COP26

Tuesday, 23 November 2021 — Morgan Theakston

The UK recently hosted COP26 where global leaders came together to figure out how to keep our planet from getting much hotter than it already is. Over 130 fashion brands made some big new promises to the planet, but will they reach their targets? What happens if they don't? Already responsible for an estimated 8-10% of global emissions, one thing is clear: the fashion industry is running out of time.

 

Read more

How does sponsorship help a child’s mental development? 

How does sponsorship help a child’s mental development? 

Friday, 19 November 2021 — Compassion International

A child’s development isn’t hinged on one aspect of growth, like physical health or emotional stability. Poverty affects every part of a child’s life. Our five-part series explores this and begins with how sponsorship helps a child’s mental development. 

 

Read more

Four top tips for shopping consciously this Christmas

Four top tips for shopping consciously this Christmas

Tuesday, 16 November 2021 — Juliette Epstein

Coming out of lockdown and straight into Christmas is an exciting, but overwhelming thought. Instead of overspending this Christmas, why not challenge yourself to become conscious about what you buy, and where you’re buying from? Here are four tips for shopping consciously this Christmas.  

 

Read more

The gift of discovering the true meaning of Christmas

The gift of discovering the true meaning of Christmas

Tuesday, 02 November 2021 — Compassion International

For Fadhili, poverty made life so difficult that Christmas was just another day to struggle through. However, when Tom chose to be his sponsor, Christmas became his favourite time of the year.

 

Read more

A Compassion Christmas: “I had never received a gift before in my life!"

A Compassion Christmas: “I had never received a gift before in my life!"

Friday, 29 October 2021 — Compassion International

When Erika first joined the Compassion project at the local church, she had never before received a gift of her own. What she received that first Christmas brought her to tears, but it was about so much more.

 

Read more

I regularly give to Tearfund, so what?

I regularly give to Tearfund, so what?

Friday, 22 October 2021 — Carl Adams

Tearfund’s ministry is about creating positive impacts in people’s lives but this would not be possible without the generous support of Kiwis.  Your donation is not just about how much money gets to where it is needed, but the level of positive change it creates.  I want to present impact through the lens of stewardship, and asking the question: “so what?”

 

Read more

Why I decided to break up with fast-fashion and quit shopping for a year.

Why I decided to break up with fast-fashion and quit shopping for a year.

Thursday, 21 October 2021 — Morgan Theakston

It’s not you…it’s me. Well, actually no, it is you. Tearfund's Advocacy Specialist Morgan Theakston takes us on her journey to give up shopping for a year and gives us her tips on reducing clothing consumption, as well as offering an eye-opening look at the damage fast fashion has on our world.

 

Read more

Show more