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The Cradle Ark is a self-feeding initiative program of The Cradle of Hope.

The ethos of The Cradle of Hope is a HAND-UP and not a HAND-OUT! Our project is run on a self-sustainable basis requiring the buy-in and commitment from the community. They need “skin in the game”. We are willing to assist and support people that show initiative. Whilst this approach is slower the “ownership” then rests with the community.

The Cradle Ark property was purchased in 2007 and the development of this 14Ha agricultural land situated in Tarlton, South-Africa, only commenced in 2017. The community was largely suspicious and hostile and initial involvement was limited to gaining trust. The lack of readily available water also hampered any efforts to grow anything.

Whilst we have been experimenting for a while off-site, we only tackled this project in earnest in July 2021. Prior to this, we expended huge amounts of energy on borehole salvage which has been unsuccessful (thus far). Therefore our first larger-scale plantings only happened in September 2021 once we had built an irrigation pond fed from a well that is adjacent to the Rietspruit.

The direct beneficiaries are the approximately 200 people currently staying on The Cradle Ark holding with their families. The benefits have extended beyond the idea of only feeding these people. With the onset of covid, some of the employed people lost their jobs and with that, their hope for a better future. The growing program not only gave them a way of feeding themselves and others but also a sense of pride and dignity, as well as a sharing of new skills and learning to be entrepreneurs.

We would like to see the property transformed into an intentional community (almost a Kibbutz-type setup but according to Christian principles and rules.) The residents will be empowered with skills to live off the land and become self-sustainable.

The development of the land is going to take several years and be done in numerous phases and will require additional donor funding.

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