In 2019 we started the pilot phase of the vertical sack gardens. After implementing a first test phase, we have distributed 251 vertical gardens by now, which provide nutritious food and an additional income for over 1000 people. These innovative gardens consist of a large sack with rich topsoil and well-rotted farmyard manure. The center has a watering channel filled with small stones to allow proper and efficient water distribution.
This is how we did it.
Why sack gardens?
A lot of families in Kenya do not have much land to grow crops. Through the vertical gardens, we solve that problem, because the plants can grow on the outside surface of the bag, on top, and on the floor around it. Furthermore, our region has two seasons. Rainy season and dry season. The vertical gardens are ideal for both. In the rainy season, the crops do not drown and in the dry season, they just need a minimum of water due to their shape and the watering system.
They take less space, are easy to plant, harvest, and maintain.
What families benefit from these gardens?
We picked families with children living with HIV/aids. Through the disease, the children have a higher need in energy, which often cannot be met through the lack of enough nutritious food. Due to Malnourishment, the medication is not as effective as it should be. Improved attention to diet and nutrition enhance Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) acceptability, adherence, and effectiveness. The plants and crops are assembled in a way that they fit exactly the needs of those children. The surplus can be sold on the market and generate an additional income.
What’s the process?
We picked the families in cooperation with our social workers. First, they received training from our ecological farmers on how to set up the gardens and how to replant the seedlings. In cooperation with the Ministry of Health, the caregivers of the children were given a one-day sensitization training on nutritional requirements of children living with HIV They were given then the first batch of plants. Our ecological farmers are accompanying the families through a whole year to assure the success of the gardens.