This month we are celebrating the one-year anniversary of our ecoFarm. A three-acre parcel that grew from undeveloped land to lush crops, a livestock barn and a bio-gas fuel source capable of sustaining 70 people.
Proof of the difference that fresh vegetables, fruit and protein can make for a human being is evident in the health of our girls.
Their bodies are strong and full. Their faces have filled out and their eyes shine bright. Many have sprouted up in height. Their favorite food is any type of meat cooked with tomatoes and vegetables. Spaghetti and meat sauce is popular! So are omelets and burgers.
Before the girls came to MGRC, their diet consisted of black tea in the morning, with porridge maybe twice a week and beans a couple times a month. They came to us starving, some near death. Since the advent of the farm, their nutrition has improved dramatically.
The farm was the first phase of constructing our ecoVillage. The farm project began in March 2021 with clearing the land. Over the past 12 months we’ve developed crops; a barn for livestock – cows, chickens, rabbits and pigs; a hydroponic fodder system for the livestock; and a bio-gas fuel system that supplies all the farm’s energy needs.
The effort has paid off in dollars as well as improved health and nutrition for the girls.
We figured our one-time investment of $96,000 has produced food worth $37,000 in one year. We will recoup our investment in about two years. This return meets our goal to become a self-sustaining operation.
We’ve overcome challenges along the way. Water is supplied through a drip irrigation system. The hydroponic system for growing high-protein fodder for the animals was a game changer that cut costs on feed. Finding an educated, experienced local farm manager through the nonprofit East Africa Impact Center known as ECHO was a blessing. The bio-gas system reduced the need to buy fuel.
We are more than halfway where we want to be. The next improvements will help us achieve consistent production at continued reduced cost.
We would like to develop aquaponic systems for growing crops. Like hydroponics, aquaponics grows crops without the use of soil and produces higher yields than soil-grown crops. But aquaponics utilizes fish tanks.
Figuring out how to plant, when to plant, and how to preserve fruits and vegetables for later consumption also are ongoing challenges.
We would love to talk with anyone who shares our enthusiasm for modern farming technologies. Get in touch with us!