Families in rural drylands are some of the most marginalized and malnourished on earth. They endure drought, deforestation, and food insecurity--all of which are exacerbated by climate change. We work with smallholder farming families to address these challenges by establishing food forests and kitchen gardens. These help to restore their land and feed their families, as well as provide the saplings, training and tools that they will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Across Kenya, malnutrition is high: 35% of children under five years are stunted and 16% are underweight. Malnutrition is especially severe in rural drylands, where frequent droughts, poor access to water and sanitation, infections such as cholera, HIV, and malaria, and poor maternal nutrition characterize most people's lives. Studies show this malnutrition affects children's educational attainment, as well as their long-term health and economic prospects in adulthood.
Our food forests and kitchen gardens produce abundant and nutritious food, restore degraded ecosystems, and are complementary with the staple crops (like maize and sorghum) that farmers produce for the bulk of their calories and income. We aim to build new demonstration farms in five new communities, directly helping 500 farmers to grow their own food forests and kitchen gardens, and inspiring 800 others to do the same.
We currently work with 800 families in Makueni District. This project will establish food forests that all 800 families can directly benefit from: 500 of these 800 families will plant their own forest, while others with less spare land will be able to buy or barter produce from their neighbors. In addition, we hope to encourage another 800 families to plant their own forests, encouraged by the example set by members of the DNRC cooperative.
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