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Ethiopia: A Dose of Gardening as the New Social Medicine

Between September 2008 and September 2011, the USAID Urban Gardens Program reached 34,200 households and over 118,000 direct and indirect orphan and vulnerable children beneficiaries through micro, household, school and community gardens in Ethiopia

By Nicholas Parkinson
Good Food World
October 19th, 2012


One year later, the group of 55 members—all living with HIV—partnered with USAID Urban Gardens Program for Women and Children Affected by HIV/AIDS (USAID UGP) and began breaking land on a garden near the banks of the Nile River. Meaza had never before been a farmer or a gardener but she vividly remembered watching her father plow a small tract of land in the Ethiopian countryside.

By mid-2010, Maeza took up her new vocation as an urban farmer, and her outlook changed dramatically. In May, the group—known as Kalehiwot—planted corn. The rains came, the crop grew, and bushels of corn were sold on the market.

“Suddenly in the garden, I felt no pain. They gave me a job, something to look forward to in the morning and I earned money. Once I started gardening, I really woke up,” she explained.

By the end of 2010, the Kalehiwot group garden integrated their vegetable garden with animal husbandry, dairy farming, molasses production and bee keeping. Starting with nothing, today they are the ultimate portrait of urban agriculturalists.

Read the complete article here.