- Our vegetable gardens go a long way in providing a daily lunch for over 800 people at our school.
- The gardens also help parents who can’t afford to pay the little tuition ($0.50/month/child), as they can choose to work in the garden instead of paying cash. One morning’s work covers one month of school. Other parents pay off surgeries their children have had through their work in the garden, or by providing us with manure for fertilizer.
- Our staff are learning a lot about gardening and getting valuable experience as we work with composting, organic farming, vermiculture and even some biodynamic methods. Volunteers
share their ideas and skills in helping us make the most of our gardens.
What to do when the precious water of the rainy season washes away the nutrients in the soil on your hillside gardens and disappears down the streams?
Lukas Url, a Swiss landscaper and environmental watchdog, came to us, like a gift, to show us how to both save water and help the gardens thrive. The answer - ‘permaculture’.
Permaculture (short for permanent agriculture) uses natural techniques to help the fertility and create more ideal growing conditions for plants. It is ‘permanent’ in the sense that one intercrops trees, bushes and vines with annual vegetables, so the gardens are always producing something. Their roots hold the soil on our terraced, hillside vegetable beds, the leaves of the trees make shade and add mulch to the soil (humus), and the ditches (swales) hold water long enough for it to seep slowly into the soil, where it is available to the roots.
Permaculture speaks to a whole set of farming principals that mimic nature and help the environment while growing healthy
food. Learn more about permaculture.
We have taken the first step towards self-sufficiency - we’ve started a farm with laying hens. We have built a strong hen house and have 250 laying hens who are managing to lay eggs that we sell daily to local stores within a one hour walk of our school. We have the same goal for the farm as for our gardens: produce food, contribute to the local economy and people, and use best practices for the environment.
- The eggs provide a welcome protein source in the villagers' diet, as few can afford meat.
- The money raised through the sale of eggs helped the committee last year to build a small barn and stock it with ducks to raise and resell.
- The care of the flock provides training and employment for local people.
- The hens also provide fertilizer for our gardens.
Needs and costs (CAD)
Feed a child for a year / $40
Gardener or cook's salary, 1 month / $50
Build a water reservoir / $300
Build a mobile chicken coop / $1,500