Foundation supports farming in Ethiopia

Last week I wrote about Amy Rodgers. She and her husband, Mike, own the Smoothie King in Afton Village.

But this busy couple also founded the Langano (Ethiopia) Harvest Foundation.

Mike Rodgers got the idea after going on his first mission trip in 2006.

"I didn't grow up in the church and had no idea what to expect on this mission trip," he said. "Figured I'd tour part of Ethiopia and add that stamp to my passport.

"The Lord really rocked my world on that trip and spoke to my heart. I just fell in love with the Ethiopian people and sensed the Lord wanted me there to use what little skills I had. It has been said a million times, but (God) does qualify the unqualified."

Mike and his family, which includes five children, lived in Ethiopia for two years to help the people of that third-world country.

The foundation's main goal is to help Ethiopian people learn to help themselves, not to create dependence.

"It was in October 2008 that I was approached by the Langano community leadership about the dire problems they were dealing with in their area: hunger, sickness from bad water and malaria, unemployment and frustrated youth who graduated from school with no opportunities," Mike said.

Mike still makes frequent trips to the area.

"I was able to coordinate training for six of the local Ethiopians where they learned new farming techniques," he said. "Once training was completed, we found some undeveloped community land, which had a water source, and started planting seeds. The rest is history.

"They are currently harvesting vegetables to sell. They have 23 sheep grazing on the farm to multiply and sell as needed; and 300 banana trees, 60 orange trees, 10 avocado trees and 10 Eugenia fruit trees are flourishing."

As I was writing this it was announced on their Facebook page that another lamb was born last week. Breeding sheep has been a very successful part of the farm, and the money made will help fund other projects.

"We have recently raised funds to install a new well, water tower, water tank and pump at the farm to begin expanding the irrigation system and vegetable production," Mike said. "In addition, LHF has funded the construction of a new teachers' house for 4 teachers in the community as well as assisting with construction of a new school where those teachers work."

Mike Rodgers also stressed that all foundation members and board members are volunteers. Each member is responsible for paying their own travel costs; and they, as a team, cover administrative costs for the foundation.

That means 100 percent of donor money goes straight to the target ministries.

So remember the next time you are at Smoothie King Cabarrus and buying a health drink or an energy bar: You are helping not only yourself but probably someone halfway around the world as well.

For more information on the foundation and how you can get involved, visit