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Rwandan archbishop visits Riemer Family Farm
riemer family farm archbishop
The Riemer family and pastor Jay Green stand with Mbanda and his wife, Chantel, during the Archbishop’s recent visit to Brodhead.

The following is a ninth grade home-school project written by Kalena Riemer of Brodhead. Student writing projects from all area schools can be submitted to the Times for possible publication by emailing

BRODHEAD — The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Rwanda, Laurent Mbanda, and his wife, Chantal, came to Brodhead to visit Riemer Family Farm to learn more about sustainable farming, particularly of pigs. As archbishop, Laurent leads 1.3 million people in faith throughout the country. To help save funds for the orphanage they run, Chantal started raising their own food for the children, specifically pork and eggs. Limited in resources, Chantal was interested in seeing what a sustainable American farm might look like.

Starting with 12 pigs just 10 months ago, Chantal’s ambition has resulted in more than 100 pigs and 1000 laying hens so far, that not only feed the 27 children in their orphanage, but bring revenue to it, as well. She said, “We are trying to be more sustainable in our service to the poor by importing less and growing more of our own food.”

Laurent and Chantal were recommended to visit Riemer Family Farm, a pasture-based livestock operation, during their visit to a support church outside of Chicago.

Laurent Mbanda was enthroned on June 10, 2018 as the fourth Archbishop and Primate of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda and ever since has been working on rebuilding and reuniting the people of Rwanda after the terrible genocide.

archbishop rwanda
Archbishop Laurent Mbanda of Rwanda visited the Riemer farm in Brodhead to learn about sustainable farming.

Laurent said, “Since the end of the genocide there has been such a large change for the better in the way people act, the way they live and even the way they use the land and everyone gives God the glory.”

Chantal said, “Almost nobody refers to themselves as Tutsi or Hutu anymore they refer to themselves as Rwandan.” This has resulted in mass unification across the country.

Laurent and Chantal enjoyed seeing how the pigs and other animals are raised, and noted two major differences. While Rwanda doesn’t experience frigid winters, they have a rainy season and a dry season. Land space is also limited due to higher populations. While these bring their own challenges, Chantal says the end result of producing healthy food for people through holistic faith is the same.

“We learn[ed] a lot and plan to transfer our learning to our people and more specifically in helping the poor,” Archbishop Laurent Mbanda said.

It was inspiring to see how the simple act of farming, no matter where in the world, can improve the lives of so many people, especially when integrated with faith.

— Riemer Family Farm is a regenerative, pasture-based livestock operation outside of Brodhead, owned by Jen and Bryce Riemer, that produces grass-fed beef and lamb, as well as pastured pork, chicken, and turkey for direct-to-consumer sales. For more information visit or email at

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