Food Security for Hungry Families in Zambia

by African Artists Community Development Project, Inc.
Food Security for Hungry Families in Zambia
Food Security for Hungry Families in Zambia
Food Security for Hungry Families in Zambia
Food Security for Hungry Families in Zambia
Food Security for Hungry Families in Zambia
Food Security for Hungry Families in Zambia

As I write this report, a second solar irrigation system is being purchased for the Communal Farm in Zambia, paid for by your generous donations to our July GlobalGiving campaign. 

The second pump will make it possible to grow soybeans, groundnuts and corn, the all-important staple crops for both personal consumption and sale, even when Mother Nature does not provide the necessary water. Because of severe drought, the first plantings of these crops early in 2022 did not yield well, either in quantity or quality. With the progression of global climate change, it is likely that drought will be more and more prevalent in the coming years. This is why our priority is the installation of the second system, which will irrigate the parcel of the land dedicated to the staple crops. Next year’s yields should be much better.

Meanwhile, vegetables are flourishing on the parcel served by the original pump. One hundred heads of cabbage and two large fields of “spinach" (what we call chard) will add welcome freshness to our community’s diet, as well as some sorely needed income.

Funds from our previous GlobalGiving campaign are being used to build an enclosure and a large shed for housing goats. Once complete, the first goats can be purchased, and the goat rearing can begin! Besides being a crop that can be sold for profit, the goats will also keep the bush under control (the speed at which the African bush reclaims cleared land is truly amazing!) and provide valuable fertilizer for the vegetable crops.

With diligence and hard work, the farm should eventually become self-sustaining. Our farmers are determined to feed their families by growing their own food, and every gift that you give will help them reach their goal.

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Work on the Communal Farm continues and, like all agricultural ventures, there are some successes and some setbacks. The goat rearing project is progressing well, thanks to your donations from our April GlobalGiving campaign. An enclosure is being built, and the housing shed just needs a roof. Once these are completed, the first goats can be purchased.

Drought is an ever-increasing impediment to all our farm projects. The first harvest of staple crops was disappointing; lack of rain stunted the growth of the maize, groundnuts and soybeans, seriously decreasing both the yield and the quality. Click here for video.

Normally, the rainy season in this area is from November - March, and the dry season is from May to October. But due to climate change, over the last few years it has become difficult to predict when or how much rain will fall. It has been very dry since 2020. Last year the rains did not start until January, and stopped during February - only 1 month of precipitation instead of 5 months. This means that it was already dry before the dry season began. The next few months will be perilous for all crops without major irrigation.

There is no indication that the drought situation will get better. We would like to dig a second well on the Communal Farm to be able to irrigate a larger portion of the land to insure better yields, and to be able to plant during more months of the year. This will provide not only food for the community, but also a source of income to help the farm become self sustaining.

GlobalGiving's July 20 Bonus Day will be a great opportunity to make your donation really count. They will be matching contributions of $100 - $1,000 at substantial percentages (from 30% - 50%). Your donations to this campaign will go directly toward the purchase of equipment and labor to install a solar-powered irrigation system.

Thank you for your support! 

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The farmers are very grateful for your recent donations to the April "Little by Little" campaign for Food Security for Hungry Families in Zambia. We raised over $5,000! These funds will go toward launching a goat raising project. The plan is to build an enclosure and purchase 25 goats for breeding. After the first year, they will sell some of the new young, and keep some for further breeding. This new venture will provide not only future food and income, but also fertilizer for their vegetable crops. 

 Please click the video link below to let the farmers thank you in their own words.

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Prisca Plowing
Prisca Plowing

Two years ago we began our project "Delivering Food to Hungry Families in Zambia". After getting our community through the initial crisis, we began to focus on more long range, sustainable solutions to poverty-based food insecurity. We started a communal farm, and have changed our GlobalGiving Project title to "Food Security for Hungry Families in Zambia" to reflect our new direction.

A year ago, the Communal Farm was just the seed of an idea. That seed has germinated and grown. We acquired land, it has been cleared, a well has been dug, and crops have been planted. 

Now we must take the next step. To move forward there are several things that we want to accomplish:

  1. Create a vegetable garden ($1,000). The farmers need seeds, fertilizer and fencing.
  2. Purchase a farm vehicle ($5,000 - $6,000). We need a van to transport the workers from town out to the farm. It will save the exhorbitant cost of a daily hired car, and will soon be needed to bring produce to market. And if there is ever an emergency on the land, a vehicle could mean the difference between life and death.
  3. Start raising goats ($2,000). Diversity is the key, and we are all keen to balance the flora with fauna on this farm. If we acquire 25 goats, we should be able to start selling goats in less than a year. With proper management, we can expect a sustainable, profit-making business.
  4. Install a solar submersible water pump system ($9,600). The irrigation system we already have in place serves one portion of the land. We were hoping that the rains would sufficiently care for our crops planted on the other parts of the land, but global warming said no. There’s a very good chance that this will also be the case in the coming years, so the more underground water sources we can tap, the more prepared we will be to have successful crops despite the weather. Plants, animals - everything in farming is dependent on water, so the greater our access, the greater our rewards.

We feel that all these objectives are important, and would like to approach them simultaneously. They will be funded in part by the proceeds of our next GlobalGiving campaign, “Little by Little” to be launched April 4, 2022. For 5 days, from Monday, 4/4 - Friday, 4/8/22, GlobalGiving will match your donation up to $50 at 50%. That means a $10 donation becomes $15, a $50 donation becomes $75. This is a great time to help this Communal Farm to expand, thrive and succeed.

Please visit the AACDP website for a more detailed report.

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Women Working on Farm
Women Working on Farm

Communal Farm Update Spring 2022

I am thrilled to report that things are growing at the AACDP communal farm! The farm workers are busy transforming the raw land we purchased into food for the Mama Bakhita Community.

The farmers are women who I have known for many years. Many are mothers of disabled children who attend the Mama Bakhita School and some are also Zambezi Doll makers. They have planted large plots of corn, soy and peanuts, staple crops that, when properly mulched, can thrive with less rainfall than other crops. The rains have been good this year and the plantings are all doing very well. This is deeply satisfying to the community, who have lately been unable to afford the high price of nshima, the maize flour that is the basis of their diet. No Zambian can imagine a meal without nshima, and now our community will be able to produce their own.

The farmers enjoy working on the land to benefit themselves, their families, and their community. One of them, Charity Lunda says she likes leaving town to come out to the farm where it is much more peaceful, and the air is fresh. She is looking forward to spending more time there and would like to bring her daughter Deborah, who has cerebral palsy and attends the Mama Bakhita School. Many of the farm workers have children who would all love to be able to spend time at the farm, enjoying the countryside. Helping in the gardens or playing under a tree would be such a pleasant change from town life. Some of the children may also be able to learn new skills.

The land is 23 kilometers from town, too far to walk. The only way to get there now is to hire a car. The round trip costs from $25 to $50, too expensive to bring children. We will soon need a vehicle that can transport small groups out to the farm, carry equipment and eventually bring crops back to town. It is a large expense; a used van will cost about $6,000 dollars, plus maintenance and fuel costs.

As of today, the staple crops are thriving, and the community is very encouraged by what has been accomplished so far. To quote Exhilda Kamonyo, a farm worker and the chairwoman of the Zambezi Doll makers, “This project is something that will change our lives and eventually sustain us. We will not only produce our own food but produce some to sell as well.”

Our sustainable future is blossoming! We are all elated with the progress so far. Water, seeds, a piece of earth, and hearts willing to work are making our dream come to life.

Marsha Winsryg
Director, AACDP

P.S. For those interested in the nitty gritty, below are further notes about farming & sustainability.

Now that the initial crops are thriving, the next step is to prepare the soil for the vegetable garden. It must be fertilized soon, and Sydney Mwamba, the manager of AACDP in Zambia, feels that at this point we cannot afford to follow organic protocols. I argued that non-organic methods may be cheaper in the short run, but more expensive in regards to the long term health of the people and the land. He agrees, but is being realistic about what we can afford now.

To find a reasonable compromise that addresses both financial and health concerns, I reached out to a friend involved with Island Grown Initiative, an organic community farm near my home in Massachusetts. She sent me links to two very useful African farming projects with programs in Zambia:
            • Women Who Farm Africa has a lively Facebook page that offers advice and contacts within Zambia.
            • Grounded is a Zambian non profit organization that teaches regenerative farming. It was exciting to find so much information that is useful for us at their website.
I am confident that we can move in a direction that is healthy for the land and people. Sydney understands these objectives and will work some of them into a realistic plan for the future. He has assured me that food, vegetation and manure composting will be a growing part of the farm’s methods, especially as goat and/or chicken farming is instituted in the near future. It will all take time.

The AACDP community is so grateful for the donations which helped create these possibilities. Your partnership in the communal farm is vital! 

Marsha Winsryg
Director, AACDP

Young soy plant
Young soy plant
Young corn (maize)
Young corn (maize)
Hoeing weeds
Hoeing weeds

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Organization Information

African Artists Community Development Project, Inc.

Location: W Tisbury, MA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AACDP
Project Leader:
Marsha Winsryg AACDP
West Tisbury, MA United States
$43,566 raised of $55,000 goal
 
495 donations
$11,434 to go
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