Winter is approaching - rather quickly, for those of us living in the northeastern United States! In Dolakha too, although the colder weather is on its way, late fall and early winter is the time for women farmers to start planting and cultivating cold crops in their kitchen gardens and small farms.
Those of us who are at best casual gardeners, or who live fairly far north, may not realize that there are many nutritious foods that can be grown year-round. In Educate the Children's current project area in Dolakha, Nepal, while it can and often does dip below freezing at night, the daytime high temperatures during the winter often reach into the 50s and 60s Fahrenheit - about 15-16 degrees Celsius being the average daily high temperature in January. (While the elevation in this region is above 7,000 feet/2,100 meters, it is at about the same latitude as central Florida - so it doesn't typically get so terribly cold despite the elevation!)
What can be grown in the winter months, in Dolakha? Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are among the most popular crops. All are relatively easy to grow, being suited for the soil and climate, and not requiring extensive labor on the part of the farmers.
ETC has stressed these "off-season" crops in our sustainable agriculture training activities in Dolakha, so that women farmers can feed their families more nutritious food and earn income year-round. In fact, many farmers have had such success on a small scale that they are now able and willing to grow these vegetables on a larger scale. In the previous project report, I mentioned that ETC's women's group members who now operate larger-scale farms earned an average of $283 in the past program year - which represents for them an increase of 50% or more in annual household income.
When I was visiting ETC's project area in March 2013, the cauliflower harvest had just been accomplished, and I was fortunate enough to be able to eat it - tastily seasoned - with many of my meals. It was delicious!
We are deeply grateful for your support of our Sustainable Agriculture project. Please visit the links below to learn more about ETC's work. Best wishes for the forthcoming holiday season!
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