Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sack Gardens, August 2010

My daughter and I have returned from an amazing trip to Rwanda, Africa. One of my volunteer tasks was to create a new compost pile at the Ubushobozi sewing house. I did just that and explained how to take care, use and nourish it. We also laid plans for a productive garden and I hope it flourishes. I did not have the opportunity to create sack gardens as I mentioned in my previous blog. The sewing house is lucky to have enough space for a larger garden. For many in Africa and for many of you too though, there is just not the space to have a “real” garden.


From Rwanda to empty lots and rooftops in our U.S. cities, container gardens are taking off. Everything from pots, bags, small swimming pools and tin cans are being used to grow food. When I see the photos of these methods, I am always impressed by how much food can be grown. For many without food security, the gardens are a necessity and help pave the way to better health. As Mwende Pascal said in 2009 “The objective of sack gardening is to increase the access to food, thus increasing the food security and to provide means of gaining an income by selling possible surplus food”. All that from a sack? Yes, true enough.


As we scale down to focus on small towns of northern NY, there are many situations ideally suited for a sack garden. Apartment balconies, doorsteps of houses in the village, student housing and homes of the elderly could easily keep a sack garden. Sack gardens are also low maintenance and take little time and labor making them perfect for elderly, busy moms, persons of poor health, committed professionals and others. Sack gardens are easy to set up in a matter of days and the harvest of food can happen in as little as a few weeks. They are an easy way to include some fresh local food into your diet.

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