I’m happy to report that the Buyanga Primary School farm now has 550 banana trees in the ground starting to grow! We’ve been working hard for the last 3 weeks plowing, digging holes, preparing the soil, planting trees, and installing an irrigation system. Now we pray for rain and wait patiently for 9 months until we can enjoy the fruits of our labor.
Best farming practices
Throughout the process of developing the farm, the school is placing special emphasis on teaching the kids best farming practices. Uganda is blessed with good soil and plenty of water, and it is very common for families to own the land on which their home sits. However, sadly, most families have limited farming experience and knowledge. As we attempt to kill two birds with one stone, we are teaching the children how to farm, so they can go home and teach their parents. While some families will in turn be able to increase yields on their own, we hope to give others new trees from the farm as it naturally expands.
Building a drip irrigation system
This week, we taught the kids how to set up a drip irrigation system. When a dry spell hits the U.S., we simply set out a sprinkler and open a spigot. Unfortunately, it’s not so simple in Uganda. As a cheap and accessible alternative, we taught the kids to poke holes in the bottom of used plastic bottles, and let water drip slowly throughout the day. The kids learned quickly, and the next thing I knew, they were cutting off limbs of trees and setting up creative mechanisms to more efficiently deliver water to each plant. These are skills they can now take home to their own garden, and keep a tree alive when the next drought hits.
Ready for expansion in March
Although my time at the Buyanga Primary School is now up, the project is just getting started. We’ve successfully planted 1 acre of banana trees, and are ready to expand when the rainy season comes in March. When all is said and done, we hope to have planted 5 acres of corn, 2 acres of beans, 1 acre of matoke (a different kind of banana), 1 acre of sweet potato, 1 acre of cassava, 1 acre of vegetables, and 1 acre of pineapple.
Lunch for 80 will become lunch for 800
And if all goes as planned, in just a few years, the school will have enough food to serve a lunch line of 800 instead of the 80 it serves today.
Support the Buyanga farm
Consider buying a fruit tree or basket of seeds to help support this project. Or, make a direct donation in any amount to the Sustainable organic farming project.
Cheers — Michael Gotter