Kibera's "Instant Farm" System Is the Future of Urban Agriculture

Click to view Kibera, a dense, 2.5 square km shantytown outside Nairobi, is the largest slum in Kenya. It's estimated that possibly a million people live its maze of houses and outdoor markets. Now a group there has figured out a fast, efficient way to convert piles of trash into compost — and to convert areas that were once trash heaps into instant organic farms using just recycled PVC piping and other easily-accessible materials. One farm, which now feeds 30 people, was operational in just 3 months. This low-tech form of land reclamation could be a model for rapidly-growing urban populations.


This is a before picture of what the area was like that locals chose for their farm. Working with a group called Green Dreams, the locals set up a plan to clear the garbage, start a vermiculture with the worms they found under the garbage, and plant vegetables in the cleared area. Trash became compost.

They planted seeds after using PVC pipes to create perfectly round holes that they could drop the seeds in.


And three months later, they had this farm, complete with a lot of worm goo (tasty for plants) from the vermiculture to use as fertilizer. Obviously this farm was helped along with outside help from Green Dreams, but now the people they trained are selling their services to other parts of Kibera, teaching other groups to grow their own food. Another thing that was unique about this farm was that many of the people who worked on it were ex-cons who apparently helped guard the area — so future farms in other cities might consider incorporating some element of security too. Farming Innovations in a Slum [via AfriGadget] Top image of Kibera via Frances Woodhams.

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