The GrassRoots Economics organisation in Kenya was a recipient of a grant from Permafund* in November 2015.
Here is a short extract from the Kenya Program Report;
The Permaculture gardens at St. Peter & Paul and St. Angeline’s two schools that share the same compound have been a success. 60 Pupils, 12 teachers as well as 20 Community Currency members have been able to:
- Establish vegetable and tree nurseries
- Establish mangrove nurseries, as well as plant and conserve mangrove forests.
- Acquire knowledge and skills in organic farming, companion planting, natural water harvesting techniques: like digging of swales, wheel gardening, creation of multi-storey gardens, seed harvesting, benefits of mulching and the various types of mulch, creation of compost pits among other topics based on Permaculture principles.
- Learn about tree uses and climate mitigation strategies at a local level.
The main goal of establishing the food gardens at the schools was to link them with the communities so that they can be a producer of food in the community and the business community members can source vegetables from the schools rather than go long distances to find markets. The community should be able to access fresh and affordable farm produce that is organic and healthy.
With the schools able to provide a steady supply of vegetables all year round, a system can be established where the business community can buy partly with the community currency- Sarafu Credit and the school can in turn access good and services from the community using the community currency. The schools can access these goods and services directly as institutions or through their staff like the teachers and other support staff.
Work began on the gardens at the end of 2015 and our first harvests from the garden have just begun.
Vegetables to be harvested in a few weeks
Vegetables to be harvested in July and August 2016
- Water Melons
The goal is to have vegetables that can be harvested all year round so we have some that mature at different times. We also have some food trees that we have planted that can be harvested later in the year like the cassava, pawpaw and bananas. We have also planted some trees that are to prevent soil erosion, act as wind breakers, provide shade, act as fence trees and for beautification among other uses the trees species planted so far are: Flamboyant, Mkode, Mchongoma, Bambakofi, Neem, Lemon grass and Bamboos –as pioneer plants (lemon grass is also good for pest control when planted around the vegetable garden and the bamboo is good for preventing soil erosion and cleaning grey water)
- Need for improved fencing:
- The schools are located on the walk way towards the beach so there is a lot of human traffic every weekend and some of them walk over some of the planted trees and we have had some cases of people uprooting vegetables and tree seedlings to go plant elsewhere. We had to seek the intervention of the village elder to talk to the community.
- Some community members are leaving their free ranging chicken and goats to feed on the vegetable nurseries and we have had to fortify the trees with sticks and some thorns and also put the vegetable gardens in enclosures. We have also planted the fence trees like the Mkode and Mchongoma that when fully grown will act as a deterrence.
- Lack of reliable water: The rains that we were depending on for rain harvesting did not rain as expected and the water harvested has not been sufficient but the children are still bringing water from home to supplement what has been harvested. St. Angeline’s was able to resource mobilize and get a larger capacity tank of 10,000 litres from the Aga Khan Foundation and have asked parents to bring in water to fill the tanks when there is no rains.
(*Permafund is the charitable arm of Permaculture Australia. Permafund receives funding applications for projects all over the world. Support is normally in the form of cash grants, but Permafund has also supported Australian permaculture practitioners to visit and participate in projects directly, see John McKenzie’s Haiti report here)