The Maisha Mazuri Children Center Agricultural Project

  • Size of the garden “Shamba”: ca. 6.000 m²
  • Farmhouse for our gardener Kimeu as well as visitors 
  • Animals: goats, chickens, rabbits, ducks
  • Crops:  

− Fruits: mango, avocado, citrus fruits, tamarillo, mulberry, guava, passion fruit, melons, bananas

− Vegetables: corn, beans, kale, Swiss chard, tomatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, millet, plantains, cassava, amaranth, garlic, chili peppers, eggplant, bell peppers, pumpkins, cucumbers

− forage crops: pasture grass, oats, bur clover, feed trees

The Shamba is a variegated tropical ‘house’ garden, which is located about a 15-minute walk from the MCC. Here fruits and vegetables are grown on terraced fields in order to provide the children of the MCC with the greatest possible variety of healthy, organically produced foods. After purchasing the property in 2015, exclusively corn and beans were cultivated on the entire plot. Unfortunately, this widespread cultivation method can only provide a very small part of the vitamins and minerals needed by the MCC’s residents, which is why a new concept to better cover their nutritional needs was developed. Gardener Kimeu Douglas enthusiastically embraced the ‘house’ garden concept and has single-mindedly implemented it since the project began in September 2016. Water is being pumped from the river, which runs directly beneath the plot of land, up to a 10,000 liter tank, which a system of pipes then distributes across the entire plot. Using old, traditional irrigation systems, such as clay jug and drip irrigation, additionally protect our plants from drying out during the dry season.

Our Shamba, at 6.000 m², is a comparatively small one and is therefore used as efficiently as possible. Individual structural and crop-related elements do not simply serve one purpose, they also support other areas in the garden and therefore carry multiple benefits. It is our goal to markedly improve soil fertility in the long run to best serve the needs of the people, especially with an eye toward climate change.

In addition, the Shamba serves as an educational recourse for the students of the Academy of Maisha Mazuri and for the region’s farmers.

The project started toward the end of 2016 under the supervision of Peter Riegg, who headed a group of seven people, a mix of students majoring in ecological agricultural sciences and volunteers, together with the Kenyan gardener Kimeu Douglas, director Jimmy Kilonzi and many other motivated helpers. Since then Kimeu has tended the MCC’s Shamba in an excellent fashion. In addition, students of the University Kassel/Witzenhausen regularly visit with new ideas and projects, which they then implement on site.

These projects are in the planning stage:

  • soil analyses to determine soil fertility
  • outdoor kitchen/ slaughter pavilion

These project ideas are awaiting motivated volunteers:

  • aquaponic facility on the grounds of the MCC (similar to the  one at Haller Farm in Mombasa)
  • taking care of the feed hedges / workshop with ICRAF

If you would like to learn more about this project or have specific questions about crop cultivation, internships, etc., please feel free to contact us!