We are so excited to have finally received our license to open the ZOE Home for Youth (ZHY). “From 2016, when we closed escrow and submitted our plans to receiving our license to open, God has been guiding us, answering prayers and performing miracles along the way,” said Vickie McCoy, ZHY Residential Manager.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, Say to Aaron, Stretch out your hand with your rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up on the land of Egypt. Exodus 8:5
Frogs, frogs, frogs! The folks in Egypt were fed up with frogs so Pharaoh entreated Moses to get rid of them. It might have been a different story had it been set in Thailand. Thai people love to be fed up with frogs. In fact, fat frogs are a delicacy to Thai taste buds!
As part of ZOE’s food self-sustainability program, we have recently started growing frogs. Our staff, students, and children love frogs and we can expand our menu without increasing our overall costs.
The frogs are raised in a concrete basin measuring 3×3 meters and 2 meters deep. A portion of the basin is covered with shallow water while the top is covered with a protective mesh to keep birds and other predators out. ZOE also raises catfish and tilapia on our fish farm, but whereas the fish take up to a year or more from fry to frying pan, frogs leap from tadpole to table in 3-4 months. Thus, we can harvest at least 3 crops of frogs every year.
Each army of frogs comprises several hundred animals. We buy them when they are just past the tadpole stage for about six cents apiece and feed them with pelletized frog food. When fully grown, the frogs are the length of a smartphone and as thick as a man’s fist.
The chefs in ZOE’s kitchen love frogs, too, because they are easy to cook and can be prepared in a variety of tantalizing and tasty ways. Some like them best boiled, braised, baked, or barbecued. They are great grilled or roasted. Fried, fricasseed, or flamed frogs are flavorful favorites. And any spread will surely be more scrumptious with steamed, sautéed, seared, smoked, simmered, stewed, or stir-fried frog! Serve with rice or noodles and oil! “a feast fit for a king (if not for a Pharaoh)!
With our first frog yield due in a hop, skip, and a jump, we expect our ZOE family will soon be jumping for joy themselves!
– Written by Ron Boyer
ZOE has been blessed with many generous donors over the years. Whether through individuals, churches, businesses, or foundations, we have seen God’s hand of grace moving in our work.Â One of our greatest joys is to share God’s abundant overflow with others who are doing His work to feed the hungry and care for the poor.Â
ZOE has been working with two of our most generous donors â€“ the Children’s Hunger Fund and USANA â€“ to ensure that much-needed help gets delivered directly to those who need it most.
Thanks to Children’s Hunger Fund, ZOE has established the Mercy Network, 73 local churches that have been providing food and other necessities to families in their neighborhoods for years throughout Thailand. Recipients don’t have to be church members or even Christians: God is not a respecter of persons and neither is hunger!
One of the Mercy Network churches is Acts of Grace Church in the heart of Chiang Mai’s slum area. When USANA leaders visited ZOE, we took them to see the work that Acts of Grace was doing with the children who lived in the slum area. They were so moved that they wanted to get involved in that work. USANA committed to feeding 100 kids and to rent a soccer field every Saturday so that the children could have a safe place to play and nutritious meals. In addition, the program has been effective as an outreach to the families of the kids who come.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, the church wasn’t able to rent the field but they continued to cook and deliver meals door-to-door in the slums every Saturday. Now, both the meal and soccer field programs are back in full swing!
We are so thankful for partners like USANA and Children’s Hunger Fund. They are true examples of acts of grace!
– Written by Ron Boyer
Mercy Network is a regional network of like-minded churches committed to gospel-centered mercy ministry. ZOE partners with local churches who have a passion to reach the lost with the gospel of Christ. ZOE provides food boxes to the local churches for them to use as a means of building relationships within their respective communities.
What new hobbies have you picked up while remaining at home in self-quarantine?
Research by a U.S. culture website indicates that some of the most popular hobbies picked up during the coronavirus outbreak include reading, working out, yoga, and baking. But a new wave of home gardeners has also emerged. Interest in gardening and farming is experiencing a boom among people around the world and is one of the more positive trends to emerge from this crippling pandemic.
“People around the world are turning to gardening as a soothing, family friendly
hobby that also eases concerns over food security as lockdowns slow the
harvesting and distribution of some crops. Fruit and vegetable seed sales are
jumping worldwide.” (reuters.com)
The number of people wanting to grow their own food, become more self-sufficient, healthy and sustainable has increased substantially during the pandemic. It has also highlighted how reliant many of us are on imported foods – including fruit and vegetables.
In Australia, plant nurseries around the country are reporting a significant increase in vegetable seed sales. Andrew Clark, a nursery owner in Tasmania said,
“The seedling area and vegetables have been completely depleted over the
weekend and we’ve sold in a week what we typically sell over a month.
Consumers are certainly showing more interest in self-sufficient gardening,
and they’re also looking at projects to keep them busy if there are further
But unlike this new wave of ‘hobby’ gardeners, ZOE’s agriculture team has been sowing into the goal of self-sustainability in Thailand for many years now. Well before anyone could imagine a time of lock-down, closed international borders and a worldwide pandemic, planning and preparation began for several self-sustainability projects that are now proving to be very significant in terms of satisfying the food needs of our Thai families.
Our self-sustainability program sits on a 35-acre property and includes a fish farm, water conservation, organic vegetable gardens, green houses, mushroom and garlic huts, cornfields, a rice warehouse, pig farm, and many fruit trees.
One of the greatest benefits of moving towards self-sufficient living is that it has reduced ZOE’s operating costs. Growing some of our own food is just one way that we can help save money and is important because it has direct implications for ZOE’s ability to independently meet the dietary needs of those for whom we care, regardless of external circumstances.
As a foundation, we are prohibited from creating a for-profit enterprise. This means everything we grow is for our personal consumption only. To create variety in our diets, we grow smaller crops and vary what we grow. Our staff and children prefer eating our personally-grown food because it’s organic and we harvest everything at the peak of ripeness.
In this time of uncertainty, ZOE Thailand’s self-sustaining projects have been a huge blessing! We have approximately one year’s worth of stored rice for our ZOE family and six months’ worth of stored corn to feed our pigs. Our pig and fish farms have produced all the protein needed. Our two water reservoirs have helped keep our agricultural projects going so that our fruit and vegetables can provide essential vitamins and minerals. Both our green house and aquaponic farm provide environments for growing vegetables in Thailand all year round … and all of this has offset our costs so that we can continue to rescue and care for children.
Author- Andrea Cross
It’s harvest time!
Today was a great day! Why? Because the self-sustaining agricultural team spent the entire morning along with some of our child care staff picking a bunch of different produce items. Needless to say, our kitchen was excited, because you can’t get any fresher produce than the organic vegetables we grow!
We harvested just under 40 pounds of chili! (It’s a good thing our family LOVES SPICY FOOD!) Then we picked about 198 pounds of cucumbers! We cut down about 40 pounds of morning glory (a leafy green vegetable). Finally, we got over 187 pounds of corn.
To top it off, some generous neighbors gave ZOE 112 pounds of peanuts just harvested right out of the ground! Our kids LOVE peanuts and now we have fresh peanuts for snacking!
That was the harvest for this week. Last week, we only harvested corn. But there was so much corn, that the ZOE family actually started getting tired of eating corn almost every day! Fortunately, we have a pig farm and any corn we don’t eat, our pigs will!
ZOE Thailand By Andrea Cross With so many different departments and areas within ZOE Thailand, it could be easy to overlook this one because it predominantly happens “behind the scenes.” It is definitely not unimportant though because so much time, effort, and research is spent making sure the most effective processes are in place. […]
Hot Stuff We are in the last stages of finishing our new vegetable green house, also known as a garden hut by the Thai staff. This new development is important because it allows us to grow vegetables in the off season which also means we do not have to pay higher prices for these types […]
Have you ever wondered how much water we drink at ZOE? Probably not, but just for your information, here it is! As of 2016, we order 50 bottles (20 liters each) EVERY WEEK! These water bottles are ONLY USED FOR DRINKING. We have multiple water coolers set up all around ZOE, so this is the […]
ZOE Foundation Australia Funds Mushroom Hut Led by missionary Les Ginoza, ZOE is always trying to think of new ways to become self-sufficient. This is derived from the value of stewardship, and we believe that by working hard to become as efficient and self-sustainable as possible, we are better stewards of the blessings God has […]
Pig Farm Update ZOEâ€™s self-sustainability continues to grow.Â In just one short year ZOEâ€™s pigpen has expanded from 40 pigs to 70!Â In fact, we not only had to build on to the current pig shelter, but we also had to slow down breeding so that the growth wouldnâ€™t explode beyond what we could handle. […]
New Land for ZOE! There has been land for rent adjacent to the ZOE Children’s Home in Thailand for more than five years, and ever since then ZOE has wanted to buy it for agricultural training and a vocational training center. However, because it was not yet for sale, we had to settle with renting […]
Self-Sufficient Living: Garlic At ZOE International, we really like garlic. Seriously. We love the stuff! Returning from a recent shopping excursion, our staff unloaded 1,500 kilos of the pungent bulbs. (That’s 3,300 pounds or 1.65 tons!) Either they ran into one heck of a garlic salesman or our staff has big plans for garlic! […]