Farm Fresh

June 2, 2014 5:22 pm Published by

Something amazing is happening on the JBFC farm. For the past month, JBFC’s farm employees have been harvesting vegetables on a nearly daily basis.

Now, Chinese cabbage, kale, Swiss chard, comfrey, zucchini, eggplant, white eggplant, squash, nutritious local greens called “mchicha” in Swahili, spider plant, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, passion fruit, papaya, banana, are all being harvested on JBFC’s 40-acre campus.

And it’s all being served up at one of our two dining halls- either feeding our 44 residential girls and 20 staff at our girls’ home or helping to feed our 300 students and teaching staff at Joseph and Mary Schools.

   In addition to the immediately obvious benefits- improved nutrition, helping JBFC become more sustainable, and increased variety of food choice- JBFC’s permaculture based system is helping to improve lives in other ways.

 JBFC’s residential girls can be seen planting in the fields after school, watering banana trees in the plot across from their dorms, and mulching avocado and papaya trees on weekends all the while learning new farming techniques.

JBFC’s farm employees- Mzee Kitula, Markus, Suzie, Elizabeth, Luka, Philipo, Emma, and Mathias, can now talk about water management techniques, the advantages of farming a mixture of annual and perennial crops, the importance of crop rotation, and the impact of soil erosion.

JBFC’s village neighbors- long accustomed to farming mostly maize, cassava, and rice, have started to diversify their production of food for obvious benefits.

JBFC’s many guests can be seen planting avocado, banana, pomegranate, grevaria, or passion throughout the year- a gift that will help JBFC continue to become more self-reliant for years to come.

JBFC’s scholarship students participate in a work-study program helping to water, mulch, manure, and plant trees throughout the week, and learning yet another skill in our quest to  ensure they have productive, self-reliant lives in the future.

 It has been over six months since JBFC has had to buy greens for our school or home- something that we used to have to do twice per week.

In the past three months, we have been able to produce enough greens to not only feed our school twice per week (lunch) and our home twice per week (usually dinner), but we have also been able to supplement rice and beans with spinach, ugali and fish with eggplant, and breakfast with fruit. In the next couple of weeks we hope to be bringing food from farm-to-dining-hall on a daily basis meaning our girls will be able to eat vegetables seven days per week.

Want to know the benefits of having fruits and vegetables readily available on the JBFC campus? Look no further than the smiling Yonga as she bites into a tart passion fruit or snags a sweet papaya.

Blogger, Seth Diemond, is JBFC’s Campus Director and helps oversee our farm operations.

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This post was written by Mainsprings