It's Christian Aid Week, and this year we are celebrating the incredible impact that the small-but-mighty pigeon pea is having on farming communities in Malawi and beyond.
Our partners in Malawi are supporting farmers, like Esther and Jen (who you may have already met), to transform their livelihoods and the lives of their families through the cultivation of this drought-resistant crop. Find out more about this super-pea.
Inspired by the determination of Esther and Jen to build their businesses and safeguard their families’ futures, we are partnering with several wonderful Northern Irish businesses to help promote the Big Pea Challenge – this year’s exciting fundraising challenge.
Nestled between the rolling hills of County Down and the shores of Strangford Lough, close to the historic village of Killyleagh, Mollie Cunningham’s family has farmed at Ballytrim for generations.
After studying Consumer Management and Food Innovation at Ulster University, Mollie secured a position at the renowned Daylesford Organic Farm in the Cotswolds, established by organic pioneer Lady Carole Bamford. After training under two exceptional chefs, Mollie became a Cookery School Tutor, teaching students how to create delicious and nutritious meals using seasonal ingredients.
“I have always sought to eat what we could grow, meaning that I grew up with an innate understanding of the seasonality of natural produce, so the focus of Ballytrim Pantry is always the vegetables grown in our garden, literally 30 steps from the kitchen.”
Esther’s story inspired Mollie to join with this year’s Christian Aid Week. Mollie felt a deep connection between her own experiences and Esther’s. Both women run their own small business which relies on the success of that season’s crop; both women work closely with their families; both have been empowered by the support of others to innovate in the face of challenges.
“Whenever I started Ballytrim Pantry, my family backed me massively, which helped me to believe that I could succeed. I can see that with Esther’s story too. When people believe in you, and your community supports you, you can thrive.”
We are so grateful to Mollie for partnering with Christian Aid and providing us with her exclusive Macaroni Peas recipe. It has been taste-tested by the Christian Aid team and it has gotten 5 star reviews! You can download her delicious recipe here
Just as Mollie has been inspired, we hope you also feel encouraged to consider inviting your church or community to a pea-themed lunch or dinner this Christian Aid Week, and to use that opportunity to help people like Esther and Jen to live a full life, free from poverty.