harnessing the power of photography for good

Sustainability Lessons from Oaxaca

This post was originally written after my first visit to Pastor Chable’s ranch in the Summer of 2010.  With my recent trip to Oaxaca and spending time on Pastor Chable’s ranch, I thought it would be good to show what God is doing in the area of Sustainability….I welcome your thoughts.

In this photo, of the farm of Pastor Chable, you can see left to right…the greenhouse where tomatoes and peppers are grown, in the middle 2 buildings that house chickens, turkeys and rabbits (for food), and on the right a field waiting to be planted with corn.

This is where the rabbits are housed.  The middle row of cages is where the breeding rabbits are.  in an effort to maintain the integrity and health of the rabbits, the University of Guadalajara’s agriculture dept has helped catalog and register the rabbits used for breeding here.  The male offspring are never introduced to any of the breeding females and unfortunately for the males, they usually are the first to be sold for food or invited to dinner…

What Pastor Chable is doing on his farm outside of Oaxaca, is selling rabbits for food to help pay for the upkeep of the rabbits, chickens, and turkeys.  He is also selling breeding “sets”.  A female will on average give birth to 10 rabbits, 4 times a year.  And if I remember correctly, each rabbit will yield about 4 kilos of meat.

For less than $150 US dollars, a farmer can purchase 1 male and 10 females, to begin raising rabbits for food and revenue.  With the formula of 1/10 a farmer will on average have 400 rabbits that he can use to feed his family, which means protein for life.  The rabbits also provide the farmer a way to help support his family, by the selling of rabbits.  The buzz word in missions lately is sustainability.  This is what Pastor Chable is doing…providing a way for locals to support their families.

While we may find it objectionable to eat Bugs Bunny, it’s a reality.  A friend recently reminded me that if we saw how most of our meat comes to the table, we would all be vegetarians.  If you would like to learn more of the process…and see photos you can go to HERE and enter the password: LIFE

**warning**     The images are graphic, showing rabbits that are being prepared  to be slaughtered for food.    If you are squeamish about that sort of thing, please dont go to the post.  But if you want to learn more about the good thats happening with the rabbits, feel free to go…

What’s sad to me is what I heard shared about churches in the states who are helping support the work in Oaxaca.  Some of the U.S. churches have stated that they would like Pastor Chable to only give meat to christians.  On occasion, famlies will come to Pastor Chable asking for meat to help feed their families.  He doesn’t turn down anyone needing help, with or without money.  Those of us visiting, thought it funny that these American churches in essence are asking Pastor Chable to not feed non christians, only to feed christians.  Those of us visiting thought this was funny…you want to help support the work in Oaxaca, but only to christians.  This is ridiculous.  But it happened.  Of course Pastor Chable  couldn’t abide by that request.

This opens up another can of worms that won’t be discussed here right now…that being, “do we have a right to tell those we are supporting financially how to use those funds?”

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He does raise chickens and turkeys as well.  I was surprised to hear that turkeys are hard to raise…they eat lots and take too long to get big and plump (naturally), so its not worth it.  He keeps a few turkeys, like the dude above, cause they look good.  But the most bang for the peso (or buck) comes with the rabbits.

Pastor Chable sharing with the kids about the rabbits and the tomatoes they are growing…

This is corn that will be planted.  Another way to help local farmers produce a product they can take to market and support their families.

Irrigation lines in the corn field.  Adventures in Life is helping bring new farming techniques to local famers in Oaxaca to help them get the most from their crops.  Dave has brought down some folks from the states who are farmers, to help them share ideas…the big picture is to help locals be self sufficient, so they can support their families while staying in Oaxaca.  Like many areas in Mexico and Central and South America, the men have left their homes to search for employment to support their families…many coming to the U.S.  as  the local church in Oaxaca seeks to provide means for the men to produce corn and tomatoes on a small plot of land, and to raise rabbits, the hope is that they can stay with their families and keep the family together.  Which is much better than having the husbands thousands of miles away.

Pastor Chable with his family (minus their oldest son)

This trip was definitely eye opening, and a blessing to see what God is doing in Oaxaca, through men like Pastor Chable.   I look forward to seeing what God does as Adventures in Life continues to work in Oaxaca.  If you’d like more information about Adventures in Life, you can go HERE, I’m sure Dave would love to hear from you.

If you want to see more about sustainability and rabbits, you can go HERE and enter the password: LIFE

warning…warning… these images are graphic in nature, showing the slaughter of rabbits for food.  It’s real and it’s life.  It may not be suitable for children.

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