In every food conference today, there is a tract on urban farming; there are participants and speakers referring to themselves as urban farmers. If you google “urban agriculture”, you will find thousands of results. Urban farming is clearly in the mind and eyes of many individuals, community groups, environmentalists and even NGOs. That’s great, but what does it all mean, what is urban farming and why all the interest now?
The term “Urban farming” may sound like an oxymoron, but the concept has gone from being unimaginable to a real solution food security. Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT) has been at the core of promoting this emerging solution to food security through its trainings on agroecological practices and that forms the basis for our story of the week.
We focus on Mrs. Gaudensia Musanga, a business lady residing with her family on a small plot at the Shibuye market center in Shinyalu, Kakamega County. Living in a predominantly farming community, Musanga felt disadvantaged having to buy food when most people got theirs from their farms. She hoped one day she would buy a farm and start cultivating her own food – something that was not forthcoming given the small earnings she got from her business.
However, thanks to the trainings she’s received from Caleb, an outreach Community Information Worker (CIW) based in the area. Musanga has learnt how to make vertical gardens, mandala garden, raised beds and other innovations that save on space while increasing productivity. Musanga is now able to produce her own food from her small plot.
Armed with farming technologies taught by Caleb, Musanga bought planting bags and soil with well composted manure that she obtained from her poultry house at a ratio of 2:1 (of wheelbarrows) and then filled the bags and the sacks with the mixture of soil and manure and is using this to grow kales, onions and cowpeas.
Mrs. Musanga harvests sufficient vegetables for her family; “I really like the whole urban farming idea, because I grow my own food on this small plot and I think it’s great to teach people in other towns so they can do the same. Thank you Biovision”.