The First Garden Towers
The First Garden Tower – Did it Work?
It was a moment of truth. Five years ago we decided to make the switch from the square foot gardens to the garden towers, in hopes that they would be successful. One day, our team visited Kotolian School in Nkareta, Kenya. Our Community Director, Jacob, was chairman of the school, and they had agreed that they would assign students to take care of the garden towers. We also decided to plant two garden towers with one of the families we had previously worked with. It would take several weeks to see how they would grow in an area without much water.
The Garden Towers Succeed!
Months went by, and we received almost no feedback on how the gardens had grown. Our team returned for our November expedition, somewhat discouraged about the project. We had agreed to plant garden towers with 10 more families, but without knowing how they had done in the area.
Jacob had asked us to visit the farm where he was planting seedlings first, so that we could see what he had set up. As we pulled up, Moses said, “Has Jacob told you how the garden towers are doing?”
I responded, “No! I have been begging him to send pictures.”
Moses then said, “Oh, it didn’t work.”
We got out of the jeep, walked around the corner, and saw the picture above. After I finished punching Moses in the arm, I got a bit teary. All around us was dry and brittle bushes and trees, but the garden towers had grown beautifully, and were providing vegetables for the women who were helping them to grow.
Our team went on to plant the 10 garden towers with families in that area, and our project officially switched from the square foot gardens to the garden towers. Our March 2019 team built a garden tower in Bomet, Kenya, to see how it would do in another community.
You see, it wasn’t just whether or not it would grow, but whether or not the families actually wanted the stewardship and responsibility of growing them. As with everything, there are challenges and blessings to trying new things.
We had built about 25 garden towers in Kenya when one day I got a call from Allen Roberds. Allen had joined us on the March 2019 expedition, and afterward had run into an old student of his from when he taught high school, Hayden Paul. That chance encounter was to change the entire trajectory of not only the garden tower project, but 100 Humanitarians in general.
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