Farming in small spaces by filling tall sacks with soil (City Farmer News /

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What Works: Urban Agriculture

Linked by Michael Levenston

Nourishing the Planet asks What Works?

By Mara Schechter


Small urban gardens can help women, who compose the majority of urban farmers. Urban Harvest, an initiative to enhance urban agriculture’s potential and food security supports community farms and projects in Kenya. These help women improve their income and networks of information and skills. In Kibera, the largest slum in sub-Saharan Africa, located in Nairobi, over 1,000, mainly female, farmers now grow food quickly and in small spaces by filling tall sacks with soil and poking holes on different levels to plant seeds.

These “vertical gardens” helped Nairobi families survive when unrest after the 2008 elections shut down roads and prevented food from coming into the cities. Growing food for their families and selling the surplus also helps people improve their diets and livelihoods.


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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