With the rainy season dwindling for another year, the members of the Dako Garden in the rural Monde area, close to Victoria Falls, are bringing the community garden back to life. The garden is a community organized subsistence farming project that assists the families of 38 men and women who are either affected or infected with HIV. ALERT is assisting them prepare for the upcoming growing season in order to ensure food security during the dry months ahead.
The importance of small, community-run farms is uncontestable. Globally, there are 500 million small farms, which provide up to 80% of the food consumed in the developing world. This means investing in small-scale farmers is an incredibly effective means of increasing food security for a region, thus reducing reliance on natural resources that places people in direct competition with wildlife.
Whilst members of Monde’s Dako Garden have farms at their homesteads in which to grow food during the rainy season, a lack of year-round water means these farms are no longer a secure source of food during the dry months. Dako is located close to the community’s borehole and plays an important role in ensuring the community is well-fed and healthy, an issue compounded by the fact that many of those who work in the garden are HIV positive and on antiretroviral treatment (ART).
The Dako Garden’s hiatus over the rainy season was broken this past week as volunteers from our partner at Lion Encounter helped the community to begin the weeding process at the garden. Volunteers joined about 10 of the garden’s members to clear the overgrowth. Approximately 40% of the garden has been cleared so far.
In preparation for the prime planting time in about one month, we have begun our annual Seedling Project that takes place at the Old People’s Home in Victoria Falls. Seeds are planted in a small patch of land loaned to us by the caregivers at the home. When ready, these seedlings will be transplanted into the Dako Garden. Last year, over 500 seedlings were planted in the garden, either purchased or grown during the Seedling Project.
With efforts being planned so early in the year, the remainder of the planting and harvesting season for the Dako Garden looks fruitful.
About this project
The Dako Garden is a subsistence farming project that assists the families of 38 men and women who are either affected or infected with HIV. This community garden is located in the Monde Village, about 20km from Victoria Falls Town. Not only does food grown provide for the needs of the garden’s members, but excess produce is sold to generate income for them. ALERT is dedicated to ensuring food security for the communities in which we work, and this large farming plot assists the rural community with vegetables and fruits during the long, harsh dry season.