As a community of cattle-herders, gardening was a new concept in Kageyo. For years, Africa New Life worked alongside community leaders to plant onions, corn, sunflower seeds and other commodities that would supplement students’ lunches at school and create some industry in the community.
In 2014, following a number of U.S. medical team visits, Africa New Life joined forces with Organics 4 Orphans (O4O) to expand and multiply the small garden. New crops were planted. Community members tasted beets, kale, and lemongrass for the first time. They learned how to grow tomatoes and harvest seeds for the next year’s crop. And, they learned the secrets to protecting plants from insects and disease by co-planting (marigolds keep bugs off of tomatoes, for example) and rotating crops each year.
More than 1,000 students at Africa New Life’s school in Kageyo now benefit from nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits! For the first time in their lives, they are getting critical vitamins and nutrients from their food.
Organics 4 Orphans will expand beyond the large community garden into small individual family gardens with a built-in compost system. These individual gardens are called “keyhole gardens” because of their shape — they look a bit like an old key hole.
Already a few test keyhole gardens were planted in the homes of families in the community. These test gardens are flourishing and the families take great pride in their care of each plant!