While the food crisis in North Korea continues largely unnoticed in the wider world, due to the country's isolation, a North American Anabaptist peace church is taking quiet steps to provide agricultural assistance.
A grant of U$42,500 from the Church of the Brethren account at the Foods Resource Bank confirms the denomination as the lead sponsor of the Ryongyon Sustainable Food Security Programme in North Korea.
The Church of the Brethren account is made up of funds raised by local Brethren growing projects, and is sponsored by the denomination's Global Food Crisis Fund.
The North Korea farm project supports environmentally friendly community development at a group of four collective farms covering over 7,000 acres.
The Church of the Brethren is to be the lead sponsor for the three-year hunger programme that will provide $100,000 to the farms this year, and is expected to provide $100,000 each year for the next two years.
Earlier this year , Global Food Crisis Fund manager Howard Royer organized and was part of a delegation to North Korea to visit the farms.
The Foods Resource Bank general account will provide a matching grant of $42,500 to the project, and ecumenical partners will provide the remainder to make up the total of $100,000.
Partners are Mennonite Central Committee, the United Methodist Committee on World Relief, the United Church of Christ, and Lutheran World Relief.
The Church of the Brethren is a Christian denomination committed to continuing the work of Jesus peacefully and simply, and to living out its faith in community.
The denomination is based in the Anabaptist and Pietist faith traditions and is one of the three Historic Peace Churches. It celebrates its 300th anniversary in 2008.
The COB counts almost 130,000 members across the United States and Puerto Rico, and has missions and sister churches in Nigeria, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and India.
With thanks to the Church of the Brethren news service