Urban gardens for urban living
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CTA. 2007. Urban gardens for urban living. Rural Radio Resource Pack 07/6. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57386
Low input food in small urban spaces
Urban gardens for urban living Cue: For better nutrition, we need a good range of quality foods. For quality foods, we need good land - and plenty of it. Or do we? Is it possible to grow great crops on small plots? The size of plots and yards that people in towns have? Kumbirayi Dhapi thinks the answer to both those questions is yes. She is an HIV/AIDS nutrition coordinator in Zimbabwe and was more than happy to describe to Sylvia Jiyane about what a ?garden for health? is and why the idea started. IN: ?Our Gardens for Better?? OUT: ?for growing your potatoes.? DUR?N: 4?15? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Even in a small plot you can grow vegetables. Use pot plants, old tyres and plastic containers that are clean - and have not held toxic materials ? to grow herbs, tomatoes and potatoes. The interview comes from a resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Dhapi Our Gardens for Better Health Project came about as a result of seeing that people that are living in urban areas have little access to food especially those that live in the high density areas, they are disadvantaged. So we have nutrition gardens which are less then 100 square metres and these are micro irrigated. In these gardens there is a variety of crops. We have the pigeonpea, broad beans and cowpeas for our protein, then we have sweet potato and cassava for our carbohydrate. We also encourage the growing of fruit trees such as gooseberries because these are bushes, cherry tomatoes and strawberries which can also be used as land cover. We encourage the intercropping of herbs so that we use these as pest repellent. So we have herbs like mint, lemongrass and basil and the marigold. Most of the herbs that we use are edible and they are used to improve palatability of food and enhance appetite or stimulate appetite in those that are seriously ill or bedridden. Jiyane Kumbirayi you have given us the size of the gardens in the urban areas which I presume is backyard gardening and those sizes seem very small to any listener. I want to find out how the families are managing to meet their nutritional requirements for the families at that scale of production? Dhapi Low input gardening has a lot of ways of maximising on utilisation of land because we are aware that most of these people are sharing a house amongst maybe four or five families. As such we have introduced mobile gardens and the use of other resources: old tyres, disused plastic containers and plastic bottles. We encourage people to grow their sweet potatoes in disused tyres because those can be filled up with sand and the potatoes can grow and the soil is loose enough to allow for growth. We also take old bottles of water, like mineral water bottles and we use those to directly irrigate our plants in the gardens. Jiyane So how much labour is involved in the growing of the variety of crops that you have given us? I am just assuming that these crops may require a lot of labour in terms of the physical energy and here we are talking of people that are living positively with HIV and AIDS as part of your priority beneficiaries for this project? Dhapi For the labour intense activities we find most of these people have friends and relatives that they live with and we also have support groups whereby they team up to help each other to establish these gardens and do most of the labour draining exercises together. But in terms of weeding and pest control or fumigation that is minimised by the type of irrigation we use. We use micro irrigation and as such weeds tend to prefer places that are wet or moist. So weeds then tend to be directly around the crops and they can simply be weeded out because it is not weeding out the whole garden space but just the shoot that has come up. We really have little labour involved. Jiyane Kumbirayi what is your final advice to the farmers that are listening right now? Dhapi Everything around you is useful so do not be deprived of good nutrition under the guise of having no land or little energy. Take all the garbage around you and utilise it. Use your bags for growing your vegetables, your tomatoes, use your flowerpots for growing your herbs and also use the old used tyres for growing your potatoes. End of track