Entry #29: Introducing Gardening

Date: 13 June 2019
Time: 5:35pm
Location: Meeting Room – TOKYO


Walked on the farm today, it was a hoe down.

Oh yeah, it was gardening day.

Today, we had another big session with the AgriBusiness Economic Development team, or AED for short, on gardening. We were being introducet to the concept of permagardening, making gardening sustainable and in a sense, “permanent.”

Hence, permagardening.

In Uganda, as AED Peace Corps Volunteers, one of our four goals while we are here is to promote food sustainability in nutrition. By showing local Ugandans how they can have their own farm at home, of which is sustainable and easy to maintain, they can grow their own food and put less dependency on trying to make money for food to buy from the market.

Truthfully, I’m not a gardener.

But I’m always down to get a little dirty.

However, with this fact and being able to learn the gist of it in a one-hour session, it goes to show that this concept of teaching permagardening is easy and doable.

Almost 80% of the Uganda is dependent on the agriculture business. But why are so many people without adequate food security to meet their home needs? It’s not the availability to food, it’s access to food.

By working with the local people in trying to increase their access to food, by having home gardens, we can try to reduce rates of malnutrition in kids aged 0-5. More food for the family means less money spent on the market and more money spent on other things like school supplies, home renovations, or clothes.

So, what kind of garden did you make?

The kind that you put your key in.

Basically, a keyhole garden has three components: a channel, a water reservoir, and the plant bed otherwise known as a berm.

The way it works is that as the rain pours, water is funneled to the water reservoir by way of the channel. The water then seeps to the plant bed behind it, giving it moisture and keeping the soil and plants healthy.

Of course, there’s a bit more that we can go in to it, but that’s the basic structure of it. The berm would also be fortified by conditioning the soil with organic material, carbon from wood ash and charcoal, and aerating the soil to allow for better water permeation. But to not overcomplicate things:

Air + Soil + Carbon = Happy soil 🙂

What’d you think of it?

BOY AM I GETTING A GARDEN WHEN I GET PLACED IN SITE.

I am super excited to have learned about this because it means that I can finally grow my own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Our mentors have said that nearly all of the soil in Uganda will grow anything that you plant in it, the problem is just having to maintain the soil’s health over time. Soil will gradually lose it’s fertility the more that you use it.

I am even more excited to share this with my community members. It means I can continue building relationships with my local Ugandan friends, share our experiences and ultimately help promote the idea of food security. And maybe learn a few new words in the local language as well!

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