Slum Farmers Rise Above the Sewers in Nairobi, Kenya
Sack farming is emerging as a solution, especially among those with no land on which to farm
By Miriam Gathigah
Inter Press Service
Aug 9, 2013
Tucked deep in Kenya’s sprawling Kibera slum is the shanty that Alice Atieno calls home. It is just one among many small, badly-lit shacks built close together in this crowded slum where an estimated one million people live on about 400 hectares.
But right on her doorstep stalks of green leafy vegetables grow in soil-filled sacks. For the mother of six, these kale plants are the source of her livelihood.
Her children have learnt to go about their play without knocking the plants over. “Children in the slum understand hunger, they stay clear of the plants. They know that it’s where their food comes from,” Atieno tells IPS.
This is urban farming for slum dwellers. “I grow seedlings in sacks filled with soil. I usually grow vegetables like kales, spinach, sweet pepper and spring onions,” Atieno says.
According to Map Kibera Trust, a non-governmental organisation that seeks to improve the participation of Kiberan residents in policy processes by providing them with information, sack farming increases weekly household income by at least five dollars and can produce two or three meals per week.