The Problem – 1 out of 7 people do not have enough food to eat
People all over the world are struggling with food insecurity. They lack the nutrition they need for brain development as children. As a result, poverty continues from generation to generation.
Imagine if you were in a situation where every day you wondered where your next meal would come from. Even worse, how are you going to feed your children? This is the reality for almost a billion people around the world.
When we started working with families, they shared with us that their number one challenge is not enough food. It’s a daily struggle that is never-ending. There is constant depression, anxiety, and stress that goes along with chronic hunger.
The Possibility – Teach a Family How to Grow Their Own Food
When we first began working with families, we focused on teaching them square foot gardening. The first year we built 21 raised garden beds. A few of them worked, but there is a continuous water challenge in Kenya, so often the vegetables would dry out. Pests were also a challenge.
Because Kenya is experiencing deforestation, we didn’t want to keep contributing to cutting down trees to make the garden boxes. One of our community directors was introduced to the Garden Tower, a mesh plastic vertical bag with holes that could grow plants.
They required less water than the garden boxes, and would grow more vegetables in less space. We decided to try it as a possible solution.
The Plan – Build Simple Garden Towers to Increase Nutrition
In June 2018, we took an expedition team to Kenya with 21 people. Most of them were teenagers, so we decided we would build the first garden towers at Kotolian School in Nkareta, a rural community in Narok County. The school had started a few years before, and had just expanded to Secondary School, so they were in need of a better way to provide lunch to students and teachers.
We then built garden towers with one of the families we had previously visited with garden boxes. We wanted to compare how they would work side by side.
Finally, we created a plan to build a community garden where families could gather and work together.
The Promise – Expand to More Families Each Week
As you can see from the pictures, the garden towers were successful. We knew that we needed to reach more families, and at $20 a garden tower, it was more cost effective than the garden boxes. It also didn’t require cutting down trees.
We made a promise that when we came back, we would build garden towers with 10 families in the community. Did we keep our promise? Yes, in ways that we couldn’t possibly imagine!