Submitted by Femke Hoekstra on Mon, 06/14/2010 - 09:34
By David McKenzie, CNN April 8, 2010
In Nairobi’s densely populated slums people have hard lives and some are going back to their agricultural roots to get ahead. The “farm-in-a-sack” project provides poor families with more than 40 seedlings, which can be grown into food in just a few weeks.
Nairobi’s Mathare slum is not a paradise for green-fingered ambitions — the streets are narrow and garbage is strewn everywhere. But mini-farms are cropping up on spare land.
The project was started by the Italian organization Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI), which brought in rural agriculturists to teach community groups how to create vegetable farms in the slums. COOPI provided each participating household in the project with one sack containing soil mix and 43 seedlings to cultivate: 25 spinach, 15 kale, 2 capsicum and 1 spring onion. COOPI also provides the expertise.
The vegetables can be harvested many times for at least one year. The capsicum and spring onions are used for passive pest control instead of chemicals. The spinach sometimes even grows out of the side of the sack. Nairobi’s urban centers are increasingly cramped, so what they try to do is use the minimum amount of space to get the maximum amount of output.
Claudio Torres, from COOPI, said: “There are two effects. There is the main effect that they really have more food and that’s like nutrition and micronutrients. But also, as you can see, this brings together the community.
More on slum farms in Nairobi can be found here or here or click here to watch another video.