Perhaps one of the greatest life challenges facing families in Kager is year round food security. In times of harvest (two growing seasons a year), food is plenty. But in the times in between, families are often faced with seasonal famine and higher food prices. Add to this the challenge of water security during times of drought (there is one long and one short rainy season in Kenya), many of the poorer families in Kager may survive on 1 meal a day for four to five months a year.
To help secure yearlong food supply, the Jubilee Village Project began the FAITH Gardens program with its first family in Feburary 2010. FAITH stands for Food Always In The Home and is symbolic of the goal of this program — to ensure that families always have food in the home — all year long. FAITH Gardens are household sized (16.5 feet by 33 feet) and utilize the Chapin Super Bucket Drip Irrigation system that can be filled each morning and will irrigate slowly throughout the day. Vegetables (beans, peas, kale), fruits (tomatoes) and root crops (potatoes) are planted and harvested for both of western Kenya’s growing seasons (March – June: long rainy season, Sept – Dec: short rainy season) and by adding drip irrigation, a garden of this size is able to help secure an adequate supply of food for a family. These types of gardens are sometimes also known as “kitchen gardens” or “household gardens” and have proven an effective tool in battling both malnutrition and famine.
Caren Phliph and her husband were chosen to be the first family (they have four childen) to have a FAITH Garden. They have prepared their FAITH Garden plot and have built a fence around it to keep livestock from damaging their crops. Under the instruction of George Amimo, Food & Farming Champion, they have planted a variety of crops and have installed a bucket drip irrigation with a 300-litre water tank (79 gallons). With this tank, they fill it every other day to deliver about 35 gallons of water per day to their garden. Planted in March 2010, they started harvesting their first produce in May 2010 and will continue to do so for a couple of more months. By varying the timing of their planting, they should be able to produce vegetables and other crops from their FAITH Garden all year round.
FAITH Gardens are one component of an integrated approach to ensuring food security for the future. Other JVP projects that will contribute to this also include:
- Village Greenhouse – providing seedlings for planting gardens and reducing times to harvest
- Food Canning – providing a method to preserve and store foods for “off season” usage
- Composting – teaching villagers how to compost and use compost in their gardens to heal their soils and increase production
October 2010 Update:
Through a generous grant from the Presbyterian Women’s group of the 2nd Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, the FAITH Gardens program was expanded to 10 more families in the Fall 2010. These families are planting both indigeous vegetables and new vegetables, like tomatoes and onions and peppers. They are also meeting together regularly to share and receive training in gardening techniques like composting.