Johanne Daoust, in Toronto sent me the link to the article below. If the following is true about women living in a slum in Nairobi, Kenya, why wouldn't it be true for women living in poverty in the United States of America?
These small gardens can yield big benefits in terms of nutrition, food security, and income. All the women told us that they saved money because they no longer had to buy vegetables at the store and they claimed they taste better because they were organically grown—but it also might come from the pride that comes from growing something themselves.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and our urban botanical gardens clearly do not get it. They seem only to hear the sounds of the Beatles singing “Yesterday”. Just about everything I read from them is about the false need for old-fashioned pots with drain holes and growing in often-contaminated city dirt. That kind of nonsense simply does not serve the millions of Americans (many of them unemployed) who live in cities.
Okay, back to the sacks in Kenya. I cannot really tell from the photo but it looks to me like these sacks might be impermeable. If so they could become sub-irrigated planters (SIPs) that save precious water and increase production for the hard working women of Nairobi.
Just coincidentally, I am going to make a SIP micro garden out of recycling sacks from IKEA. It will be very simple to do using recycled plastics for the water/oxygen reservoir. The cost of the SIPs is $2.33 per 9-gallon planter plus the cost of the soil mix of course. The micro garden will have clean architectural lines in black, gray and white.
The sacks have a pocket for signage and would make a neat kids garden with a photo and name of the veggies growing in the sack SIP.
Unfortunately, there is no IKEA in Nairobi so perhaps I can get a few samples of their vertical garden sacks to test. Stay tuned.
This is the first of a two-part series on our visit to Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya.