Sack gardening : a simple technology to eat fresh food and to earn a living (IRIN News / allAfrica / C. ODERA)

On February 22, 2010, I have posted the following article :

https://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/urban-farming-growing-vegetables-in-sacks-in-kenya-irin/

Today, Cynthia ODERA, mentioned on Facebook another article on “sack gardening :

http://allafrica.com/stories/201008250005.html

Kenya: Growing Vegetables in Sacks to Beat Hunger and Make a Shilling

Mathias Ringa Mringa, 24 August 2010

Nairobi — As land becomes scarce and food prices hit the roof, a new method of growing vegetables is fast gaining popularity in various parts of the country.

Using the simple technology, vegetables are grown on a sack that is filled with soil and manure.

And inmates at Shimo-La-Tewa Prison have mastered this art and are now not only using it to sustain their needs, but also to generate income.

When you walk into the prison, you will be greeted by hundreds of sacks with healthy vegetables, including sukuma wiki, spinach, onions, tomatoes, potatoes and okra.

The technology comes at a time when the cost of vegetables has gone up significantly.

Does not cost much

Barely two months ago in Malindi town, a kilogramme of sukuma wiki cost Sh60, a kilogramme of onions went for Sh100 while a similar measure of tomatoes fetched Sh120.

Fortunately, the invention does not cost much as you just require an empty sack, fertile soil, manure, seeds, water and an open area where the vegetables can get sunlight.

There is no weeding challenge while the technology is environmental friendly.

A single sack with a variety of vegetables can be able to feed a family and enable it save some money to cater for other pressing needs.

According to Shimo-La-Tewa Prison officer in-charge Margaret Chuma, the institution launched the project dubbed Shimo Youth Initiative Kitchen Garden on June 16, as an income generating activity for inmates.

Ms Chuma said the project is also aimed at meeting the prison’s vegetable needs since prices of the greens have skyrocketed.

On the other hand, she said, the project is a demonstration to both the prisoners and the public that with just a sack you can be able to grow vegetables to meet your family needs or as an income generating activity.

The technology, she says can be used anywhere, including in towns and dry areas, provided one has access to water.

“Land is becoming scarce in the country while the prices of vegetables are rising every day. By using such a simple technology you can be able to earn a living,” Ms Chuma said.

“We want people out there to borrow a leaf so that they can maximise on the little land they have and feed their families,” she advised.

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COMMENT (Willem VAN COTTHEM)

Here are some photos showing possible applications and opportunities for sack gardening :

Sack gardening in Berlin (Mona HATOUM)
All kinds of plants, even vegetables and flowers, low fruit shrubs, etc. can grow on sacks
Simple method to alleviate malnutrition and hunger: inexpensive (a sack, local soil with some manure, seeds, a minimum of water (water retention capacity is high). Almost no weeds. Minimal space. Sustainable.
Sack gardening in art (Mona HATOUM)

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COMMENTS

Willem VAN COTTHEM : Sack gardening is a very interesting technique for the developing countries. It can and should be applied everywhere to alleviate malnutrition, hunger and poverty.

Cynthia ODERA : Sack gardening gaining popularity with youth organizations here in Nairobi and even in rural areas of Kenya.

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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