While I was in the States, the farm moved even closer to completion. Since we broke ground in March, we have cleared the land, planted crops, built homes for farm staff, built barns, and installed a boiler for pasteurizing milk. The bricks for the buildings were even made on site! A biogas system was installed that will provide fuel for the houses. And we now have a water tower that provides backup in case of water failure from the government.
Food is our main expense, so our goal is to provide as much of our own food as possible. By the end of the year we will be self-sufficient on milk, protein and vegetables. We have planted fruit trees that, once producing, will provide avocados, mangos and oranges. We will continue to purchase grain, as it is cheaper to purchase than produce, and purchasing it allows us to support our community.
We are excited to continue to improve our girls’ nutrition. Before coming to MGRC they would have received almost no meat and very little goat milk. They now have cow milk every day. Before the farm the girls had vegetables 2 times a week. Now they have vegetables every day! The girls are also being introduced to new forms of protein such as chicken, rabbit and pork. It’s fun to watch them try new things.
In addition to providing variety and improved nutrition to our girls, the farm gives the girls a chance to learn new life skills like planting and harvesting crops and caring for animals. On the weekends our older girls have been helping with the rabbits and harvesting animal fodder.
We are using modern farming practices that aren’t common in the area. Our cows are zero-grazing and this has raised milk productivity significantly, from 15 liters per day to 35 liters per day. Our hydroponics system is complete and feeds 30% of the cows daily food, 90% of the rabbits food and 40% of the pigs food.
Going forward we will need a milk pasteurizer for healthier handling of the milk, as well as a milking machine which makes it easier on the cows and helps them produce more milk. We will also need to install a drip irrigation system to use on the vegetables during the dry season.
If you would like to help us put the finishing touches on this project we invite you to donate here.