Wyoming and South Dakota New Home to INC Eco-Farms
JAN 21, 2020 (SHOSHONI, Wyo.) — A 163-acre abandoned mushroom farm in Shoshoni, Wyo. will soon breathe new life after the inauguration of the first eco-farming project in the U.S. of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC or Church Of Christ).
Dignitaries of the Shoshoni Township and leaders of the INC together celebrated the start of the partnership to restore the grounds of what once harvested mushrooms and produced a means to boost the township’s economy.
“All countries are going through hardship,” said INC General Auditor Brother Glicerio B. Santos Jr., who led the project’s inauguration ceremony. “The Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) is here. Today we have projects that will give work or livelihood and housing to those in need in different countries.”
The establishment of the ‘Maligaya Development Eco-Farm’ is made possible through the Felix Y. Manalo (FYM) Foundation, the charitable arm of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC or Church Of Christ). The mission of this endeavor is to transform and develop ecological farms and to be able to secure a sustainable future for food, nature and help the livelihood of many communities.
Although it is the INC’s first eco-farming project in North America, the Church has 37 other established eco-farming sites, including the 1,255 acre eco-farm in Ladybrand, South Africa. Reopening the shutdown mushroom factory in Shoshoni and establishing a tandem farm in the INC’s property in Scenic, S.D. is a continued commitment of the Church to help build self-sustaining communities and bolster the workforce of regions in need.
Fifty-four job opportunities are expected to open for Shoshoni locals at the start of production.
“We’re a small community, but we have a high number of unemployed people; this will provide good jobs for them to help feed their families,” said Shoshoni Mayor Joel Highsmith. “I know there are many projects worldwide, but the need is also in the United States. We thank [Executive Minister] Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, for having the vision to choose Shoshoni.”
Operations on the farms will be overseen by Compost Specialist and Farm Manager Edgar Garcia, as well as Stanley Dolinar, former General Manager of Rocky Mountain Mushrooms LLC that once operated at the Shoshoni farm. While the Maligaya Development Eco-farm in Wyoming will produce compost for both farms, the INC’s Scenic, S.D. property will have the capacity to house 16 indoor growing rooms, and the Wyoming factory will cultivate 24 growing rooms. Each farm is expected to harvest two rooms per week.
“We would hope to help you be successful, because if this project here is successful, it is also good for our community and all of Fremont County,” said Mayor Joel Highsmith of Shoshoni.
“This is just the beginning,” added Brother Brother Glicerio B. Santos Jr., referencing the INC’s future plans to establish many more livelihood programs in other US states.
In 2019 alone, the FYM Foundation’s Aid To Humanity events toured Canada, the United States, and India, serving tens of thousands and assisting nearly 100 local organizations. Other current projects include providing livelihood opportunities, like the building of numerous garment factories, most recently the newly established garment factory in QwaQwa, South Africa; or the distribution of basic supplies to residents of favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and relief aid in the aftermath of natural calamities, such as the most recent volcanic eruption in the Philippines, the hurricane aftermath in the Bahamas, and other disaster-stricken areas.
For more about the Church and its activities, please visit www.iglesianicristo.net.