School Market Gardens
Julius Nyerere’s dream of Ujamma was that all schools would be self sufficient and that the students would learn to farm so that when they left school they would be self reliant and improve the community in which they live. What failed him on this dream was the competency of the teachers. Teachers are teachers and not farmers and the project never really took off.
The sad impact of this failure is that while most schools have land, very few farm them in a way that educates the children. The diet of the children and their parents is severely lacking balance and this manifests itself through poor heath, stunted growth and malnutrition. The lack of understanding of the benefits of fruit and vegetables is being addressed through community health seminars and at the same time we are bringing the farming of fruit and vegetables into the school.
We want every school we work with to have a small demonstration plot where students can farm an observe the farming of fruit and vegetables. the keyhole gardens, bag gardens are part of this process. The aim is to visibly demonstrate as well as educate the students about the different vegetables. To plant a tomato and to know that a single tomato contains lycopene that can reduce prostrate cancer, “the thee amigos” (sera-carotene, phytoene and phytofluene) that has strong disease fighting potential, phenolic acids that fight lung cancer, lutein what is great for your eye, vitamins A, B and C, potassium and phosphorous
Armed with new skills and the knowledge of the benefits, we would expect to see the community gstarting to grow more vegetables and improve their health. We know from our consultations with them that the biggest hurdle for them is water. Part of our demonstration market gardens has to demonstrate different irrigation ideas.
The Sinai Primary School have made great progres with their market garden. Once we relocated the tap into the garden work stepped up a pace. Banana, mango and avocado trees and passion vines were planted, along with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, assorted greens, peppers. It is a marvelously simple project as you would expect from us. Year 6 grow the vegetables in nursary, some are then replanted innthe garden and others are taken home for th students to grow at home. THe school crops are sold at a subsidised rate to the teachers and the income used to pay the electricity bill, to keep the water unmp working.
This is a simple and effective way of improving the diet of the students and improve their farming skills at the same time.