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About Us


World Hunger Relief, Inc. is a Christian organization committed to the alleviation of hunger around the world.

Meet The Team

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About Us


World Hunger Relief, Inc. is a Christian organization committed to the alleviation of hunger around the world.

Meet The Team

mission

World Hunger Relief, Inc. is a Christian organization committed to the alleviation of hunger around the world. God calls us to:

  • Train individuals in holistic ministry that equips them to work with communities in developing sustainable farming techniques.
  • Motivate individuals and communities to live sustainably and advocate on behalf of the poor.
  • Partner with local and international sustainable development programs.

Our philosophy is to live simply, helping those who struggle to meet their basic needs by sharing and investing in others what God has given to us.

 

 

WHAT WE DO

In central Texas, WHRI addresses hunger issues of low-income, elderly, and disabled individuals through various community gardening projects. We also provide training in gardening for schools and other community groups. Each year we host several thousand individuals for educational programs focusing on sustainable agriculture, environmental responsibility, and world hunger issues.

Globally, WHRI is fighting hunger through the work of our food systems interns. These interns work for various international organizations promoting sustainable food production and economic development.

As we look toward the future, WHRI anticipates significant expansion of our partnerships with organizations around the world. God is constantly presenting us with opportunities to combat poverty and hunger in His name.

 

history

World Hunger Relief, Inc. was chartered in 1976 by Bob and Jan Salley, real estate developers with a heart for God's people and the land. WHRI's non-profit charter provides for a program in agroforestry and related technologies to address the needs of the hungry, both foreign and domestic.

In 1979, the Salleys hired Carl Ryther as WHRI's director, and the farm was truly born. Ryther had recently returned to Texas after seventeen years of agricultural missions in Bangladesh, where he developed simple food production systems to address the food needs of the poor. These systems, which included intensive vegetable production in grow-beds, rabbit husbandry and agroforestry, were designed to maximize food production in situations of limited land resources. Ryther was charged with developing a program to train individuals to address hunger needs around the world. The resulting training manual, Backyard Food Production Systems, was translated into several languages and still forms the basis for WHRI agricultural operations.

Beginning in the mid-1980s, WHRI personnel became active in development programs in Haiti, Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya, and India. Most of these efforts involved agroforestry utilizing the “miracle tree” Leucaena leucocephala. Well-digging for irrigation and sanitary drinking water was also a component of many of these programs. The Ferrier, Haiti program is now thirty years old and has led to the formation of a sister organization World Hunger Relief, Haiti. Other international partnerships include the Valle Nuevo community in north-central El Salvador and the Ricks Institute in Liberia.

In 1994, Lee and Kathleen Piche joined Ryther as co-directors. They expanded WHRI to include a Grade-A goat dairy, dried flower production, and fresh market vegetables organized in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model. They were also instrumental in significant facility improvements, including construction of the Carl and Jean Ryther Education Building, completed just before Ryther’s death in 1999.

In 2003, Neil Rowe Miller began as Executive Director. Under his leadership, WHRI underwent a major reorganization of its intern training program, providing a more comprehensive full-time curriculum, and offering living stipends in addition to room and board. WHRI staff was expanded to include four full-time and four-part time positions.

Matt Hess became Executive Director in 2013 after serving as Education Director at World Hunger Relief, Inc. for six years.  Matt's time as Executive Director has brought a focus on local community work, while maintaining our international partnerships. He specializes in relationship building and tying our work to the mission and aspirations of the farm through service to the Waco community. Interns leave the farm with a set of tools for facilitating and participating in strategic community development anywhere in the world they find themselves.

In 2012 Bob Salley wrote Keep Plowing, which tells his life story and much of WHRI's early history. It can be downloaded as a pdf (donations accepted), or purchased on Amazon.

 

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People


Meet our staff and interns.

People


Meet our staff and interns.

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Rebecca mann

INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
EDUCATION DIRECTOR

Rebecca is a long-time friend of the farm. Her first exposure to WHRI was through a Baylor University class about World Food Problems. She graduated with a B.A. in International Studies focusing on economics and, after several years working with children, returned to the farm in 2012 as interim Office Manager. Rebecca now serves as the Education and Business Director, a position created for her unique gifts in education, passion for sustainable food systems, and business expertise. In addition to running the business end of WHRI she oversees Local Education, which includes on-farm education programming and school garden programs.

Rebecca is currently serving as Interim Executive Director.

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PATRICK LILLARD

FARM OPERATIONS DIRECTOR

Patrick grew up among the lakes of Central Texas and attended Texas A&M University, earning his B.A. in English in 2000. He then volunteered on Heifer International’s educational farm in Massachusetts for a year, which led to his “ag conversion” and a passion for learning about different farming systems. He spent a couple years traveling and working on farms in Australia and New Zealand before returning to Texas A&M to pursue his M.S. in Horticulture and a Ph.D. in International Agricultural Development. Before coming to World Hunger Relief, Patrick was at Purdue University working on an international project studying organic weed management. He currently serves as the vice president of the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and is a member of Southern SARE’s administrative council.

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JOEL H. SCOTT

DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT & OUTREACH

Joel and his family have been friends, volunteers and beneficiaries of WHRI's robust work for nearly ten years. Before coming on staff at the Farm, Joel enjoyed fifteen years in higher education administration, faculty leadership, and university-community engagement. Dr. Scott is keenly interested in capacity building and spends his days cultivating WHRI's advancement opportunities, partnerships, and donor relationships.

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KELLY EZELL

TRAINING MANAGER

Kelly joined WHRI as Training Manager in the summer of 2016. Kelly has a B.S. in Community Health Education and a Masters in Public Health from Baylor University. During her masters Kelly developed a passion for working where public health and sustainable agriculture collide. Kelly completed her graduate internship at WHRI as the Veggie Van Intern and upon graduation continued working to develop Waco’s local food system. Eager to return to the farm, she happily accepted the offer to be the Training Manager, overseeing the Intern Program. Kelly enjoys working at the farm because she has the opportunity to learn from and work alongside individuals from all over the world who share her passions for health, sustainable food systems, and mission work. 

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daniel stewart

KITCHEN, SALES & MARKETING MANAGER

Daniel decided to be a farmer at the age of eight when he read Ox-Cart Man, a children’s book by Donald Hall about a subsistence farmer in colonial era New England. Though he followed other passions for a while, studying Great Texts and ancient languages at Baylor University where the only farming book he read was Virgil’s Georgics, he got his hands dirty again after graduation and learned farming the hard way. Raising gardens and chickens in Central Texas turned out to be a lot harder than books had led him to believe! Daniel is married to his high school sweetheart, Haley; they love Waco and their three children. Daniel is passionate about sustainable agriculture, cooking, and sharing meals with friends.

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JAMES FAIRCHILD

FARM MANAGER

James grew up in Houston, Texas and attended Baylor University, graduating in 2009 with a B.A. in Speech Communication. James began his agricultural career coordinating recreational horse activities at a local children’s home, where he experienced first-hand the benefits that working with animals had on young people. He decided to pursue a masters degree in Agricultural Development from Texas A&M University was an agriculture teacher at a residential children’s home for two and a half years before taking his position at WHRI.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Kasey Ashenfelter, President
Jo Anne Beaty, Vice President
Ivy Hamerly, Secretary
Bell Weeden, Treasurer

MEMBERS

Frank Drew
Dee Dee Carson
Todd Stoner
 

FOOD SYSTEMS INTERNS

 

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Sustainable Practices


Nourishing people, communities and the land.

Sustainable Practices


Nourishing people, communities and the land.

 

As a functioning farm, WHRI is committed to sustainable practices that nourish people, communities and the land. As a training center for development, we use agricultural technologies appropriate for use in the developing world.


 

our animals

All WHRI animals get to enjoy rotational grazing. Rotational grazing is the practice of moving livestock between pastures frequently to prevent overgrazing. This allows the grasses in one pasture to regenerate while our livestock eat from another pasture. Rotating our livestock between pastures ensures that we are always bringing our animals to their food, rather than bringing food to our animals.

BENEFITS

  • Reduced parasites, who die out without animal hosts.
  • Animals get the best forage available, improving the nutritional quality of the meat.
  • Reduced fuel use as we do not use vehicles to transport feed, animals or manure.
  • Nutrients from the animal manure are cycled back in the soil, reducing the need for fertilizer and improving soil health.
  • Animals raised on good grass produce meat that tastes great!

 

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our fruits & vegetables

We use principals that care for the soil, are healthy for the growers, and nourish those who will eat our produce. We do this by:

  • Adding organic material, such as compost, to the soil.
  • Rotating crops, so that the soil's nutrients are never depleted and our produce is full of vitamins and minerals.
  • Planting cover crops between growing seasons. Cover crops suppress weeds, build productive soil, prevent erosion, and help control pests and diseases.
  • Using only organically approved fertilizers and pest control.

COMPOSTING

Composting is an essential part of growing produce at the WHRI farm. Compost is the nutrient-rich material that results from the controlled decay of organic material such as kitchen scraps, sawdust, yard trimmings, paper, and cardboard. Compost contributes beneficial nutrients to the soil, improves soil structure, and helps soak up runoff that can pollute rivers and lakes. Compost also helps the soil absorb and retain those beneficial nutrients and moisture. It protects plants from diseases and pests while promoting the growth of earthworms.

As the organic material mixes together and decomposes, heat is produced in the compost pile. At these temperatures organic material quickly breaks down into nutrient-rich humus; pathogens and weed seeds are also killed. When it becomes a uniform rich, dark, earthy substance it is ready to be used. Compost can be added to the soil before planting seeds and transplants, or it can be applied as a top dressing.

To sum it up, the benefits of composting include:

  • Nutrient-rich soil.
  • Reduced soil erosion.
  • Reduced pollution.
  • Improved soil structure.
  • Protection from disease.
  • Prolonged life for our landfills.

 

composting toilets

Didn't think we were crazy enough about composting? All the bathrooms at the farm feature waterless composting toilets. A composting toilet treats human waste by composting and dehydration, using littler or no water to create a valuable fertilizer end product. Each flush of a normal toilet uses one to five gallons of potable water that must be treated by and expensive process, using many chemicals, to make the water safe to reenter the environment. The water's only role is to carry the waste away. The average American uses 80-100 gallons of water every day—the vast majority of which is simply flushed down the toilet.

In the system used at WHRI, the toilet sits above a chamber equipped with a ventilation pipe and clean out door. Sawdust is added to serve as a bulking agent and reduce odor, as well as give a carbon food source to the microbial lifeforms that perform the composting. After six to twelve months, the end product can be harvested and applied as an organic fertilizer. At WHRI, we compost it a second time in order to ensure that all pathogenic bacteria and viruses are destroyed.

This technology contributes to the fight against hunger and poverty by allowing those of us with an abundance to be better stewards of our resources, and by offering a viable technology for waste disposal and cost-free fertilizer in the developing world.