While we pledge to donate at least 10% of our net profits to our foundation, The Greener Diamond, for the past few years, MiaDonna has been donating at least 20% of our net profits in order to accomplish our most impactful project yet. Thanks to the #MiaDonnaHeroes who purchase our lab-grown diamond jewelry, we are in the process of building a 10-acre farm in Liberia, Africa that will train up to 100 people a year on modern farming techniques.
The Greener Diamond Agricultural Training Center will restore the lost art of farming to the people of Liberia. Many people don’t realize that during times of conflict it can actually be illegal to grow crops because the land is more valuable for mining. In the past, knowledge about farming was passed down from generation to generation, but now that information has been lost and people simply don’t know the most effective ways to put a farm on their land. Consequently, the majority of Liberia’s food is imported. We are hoping to change that.
The land development and infrastructure construction started a few short months ago and we are almost ready to welcome our first class of students. One thing that makes this program so unique is that it mixes university students with community locals for a cross sharing of information. The students get an opportunity to gain practical experience and put their learning to the test while sharing that information with the locals. Community members have unique knowledge about the soil and climate that affect the crops and will share that information with the students. It’s been exciting to watch the land being cleared and the infrastructure taking shape the past weeks, and we are excited to share the progress with you.
Clearing The Land
The open land in Liberia is very lush and dense, which made the process of clearing the land quite complex. What would take a couple of days with the use of excavators and tractors here in the United States, has taken weeks in Liberia because it is all being done by hand. First, the workers used machetes to cut back the vegetation, then they did a controlled burn to expose the stumps that needed to be removed. That is also done by hand. Once the land is cleared of all the stumps, tillers will be brought in to prep the land for planting.
An integral part of the farm and training center is the well. It will be used for drinking water, preparing food, the washroom facilities and watering the crops. Again, all done by hand, it took several days for the workers to dig deep enough to reach water. As we got close to breaking the water table, we learned of a local tradition and were happy to participate. In this particular area, when digging a well, as you near water, it is customary to give the community elders a white chicken, which represents good fortune. We’re happy to report that the day after giving the elders the white chicken, we reached water.
A palava hut is an open-air building with half walls and a roof that can be used as a meeting space. This will be where the classes are conducted at the training center.
As the progress is moving quickly now, we will continue to bring you regular updates and images since you are a major part of this journey. It’s only because of conscious consumers choosing to purchase MiaDonna jewelry that we are able to empower the people negatively affected by diamond and gold mining. Together, we are creating change and making a difference.