Our target is to bring efficient Ecologic, Sustainable and Economic ways of gardening to the poor, low or middle income earners and all gardening lovers with a goal of trying to use less water and space to produce more, fresh and nutritious vegetables, fruits and herbs to nourish the targeted niche markets.
In our first half of the project we have been conducting a pilot survey to:
• Develop cost efficient Brick and Bag gardening designs and kits.
• Identify space to water efficient vegetable and fruit varieties that can be grown using Brick and Bag gardening.
• Come up with ways of increasing yield from a small space and little effort.
• Test our kits with a few households (Brick and Bag Gardening Campaign Community) and recording results.
• Educate and share experience with the Campaign Community through regular visits.
• Motivate the campaign community to be fully engaged through technical and resource support platforms.
• Start a greenhouse nursery for health seedlings.
• Learn how to decompose organic waste through vermiculture.
• Write a Brick and Bag Gardeners Manual.
• Introduce drip irrigation as a way of saving water.
• Start harvesting rain water for Brick and Bag gardening.
• Develop, test and modify our future sink (Waste water to garden system).
• Identify and approach potential clients and partners, especially Non-governmental and private organizations.
We managed to:
1. Sustain a gardening community. From the Via Water funding, one of our objectives was to develop a Brick and Bag gardening community. Our target was to have at least 15 households included in the pilot survey. The community was supposed to include four market segments; i) the Disabled and HIV/ Aids patience or affected people, ii) the Poor, iii) Middle income and High income earners, iv) Gardening lovers and iv) Vegetable vendors.
At the moment we have managed to sustain 12 members from the market segments. We provided them with the needed resources, skills and support. We obtained a positive support from the members and managed to share experience with them which has been used in the drafting of our ‘Brick and Bag Gardeners Manual’.
2. Design different Brick and Bag gardening kits.
Our target was to develop and test at least five Brick and Bag gardening kits. So far we have managed to develop and test six different kits. The first kit that we tested was the concrete raised bed, followed by the grow bags, wooden raised bed, future sink, and the plastic container kit.
Three of the kits were also tested with the gardening community. All our kits are successful. We are in the process of determining the life span of our grow bags and opportunity to recycle waste plastic to produce own brand grow containers and efficient watering kits.
3. Use waste water and organic garbage.
Our plan was also to test the possibilities of using grey water as well as organic waste. We developed what we now call our ‘Future sink’ in order to divert kitchen dish washing waste water and laundry waste water into raised beds using our Future Sink. The observed success of the first edition motivated us to come up with the second edition, the ‘Laundry Washing Future Sink’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dd9egchXDI&t=15s). We will continue working on developing our filter for the sink. Research studies will continue to find the best parts for the innovation with the assistance of different partners.
Vermicomposting came as a suggestion from Dick Bowman during our proposal writing. The technique is used to decompose organic waste into rich soil called vermicast. We started with a small kit and few worms. Three months after, we started harvesting our first Vermicast which we use as grow bag or potting soil. At the moment we are waiting for the red wiggle worms from Zimbabwe, which are more efficient.
After the Skills Sharing seminar in Ghana, I admired the composting method by Safi Sana. At the moment we have also started composting chicken droppings mixed with dead leaves, organic matter and wood shavings. This gives rich compost for better gardening results. More experience is shared with Sponge Town - urban water/garden project (Luwieke Bosma; Kenya)
We plan to engage fruit and vegetable vendors as our source of worm feed and composting matter.
4. Publish our Brick and Bag gardeners manual.
Our ‘knowledge and skills sharing resource’, The Brick and Bag Gardeners Manual will be out by the mid of March. Our objective was to have a simplified handout to assist gardening beginners and to motivate potential gardeners by enlightening them with the required knowledge for sustained Brick and Bag gardening. The manual has four chapters and is going to have both English and a Portuguese version. More editions are expected to come out with updated knowledge and skills.
Having completed the first phase, we are now beginning our second phase (project up-scaling) as planned. We therefore are planning on how to sustainably up-scale our innovation. We are considering few options for this phase.
To sustain our Brick and Bag gardening idea, we plan to have a retail outlet to sell gardening inputs and resources which will give us a direct control and support to gardeners. Our second plan is to secure a plot for vermifarming as well as nursery development and brick and bag gardening of vegetables and fruits. This is also a way to generate revenue to continuously promote Brick and Bag gardening, cost efficiently.
Additional business value should include;
‘Rain-water harvesting for gardening’ services and kits,
Surface water for gardening management techniques,
Simple hydroponic systems,
Mushroom gardening and training.
And to have ‘own brand gardening tools’ such as hand hoes, machetes, rakes, slasher, forks, spades, wheel barrows, irrigation tools, gardening pots....etc made from waste plastic and metal scrape to add to our vision ‘to promote clean cities’. These can be much stronger, affordable, durable and much favourable in the market as compared to other affordable import tools.
Our contact doors are open for opinions and suggestions.