Grow to Grow

With nutrition there can be education and with education there can be nutrition. The Grow to Grow program aims to reduce the effect of famine on learning and create sustainability through permaculture practice. LSU has funded Oliver to be trained at the Kusumala Institute to become the in-house permaculture expert,who can also offer expertise to other schools, charities, and organisations, having proven success with poor quality, sandy soil. The opening of Mkunkhu school kitchen and outdoor classroom on Nov 15 th marks the project’s success, enabling the 450 pupils and 7 teachers at the school to feed themselves two nutritious meals a week throughout the 3-month famine. It’s also generated enough profit from surplus crops to help provide equipment. In 2017 the farm is extending to 10 hectares, and aims to feed the children 5 days per week.

“Already 250,000 children below the age of five are acutely malnourished in Malawi. Following the worst floods on record earlier this year yields are down nearly 30% and the country is bracing for a humanitarian crisis. (DIFID)”

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to be self sufficient” - Michel De Montaigne

The Challenge

Prior to Love Support Unite’s involvement with Mkunkhu, the community at Mkhnkhu and it's children used to walk 8 km from the school to receive one bowl of porridge from a government-feeding program. Recognizing the dire food situation and critical importance of correct nutrition during early childhood, LSU has spent the past 3 years working towards delivering food security as well as clean water, medical outreach and education to over 500 students.

Poor nutrition in Malawi leaves 1.4 million almost half of the children in Malawi stunted in growth and development. Children will eat a basic diet of  maize  porridge which is  lacking in vital nutrients.  Attendance at school halves during famine as some children will only eat one meal in four days and do not have the energy to come to school.

Our approach

We are creating a school model that can feed all its pupils sustainably. The school will offer nutritious balanced meals to its children enabling them a good start in life. The children will be taught nutrition in class and  The gardens will act as outside class rooms. We will be educating children not only on nutrition, but on permaculture farming techniques to carry through life to help them feed themselves and their families a balanced diet. 

We are using permaculture to enable the community to fund it's own education. Income produced from maize sold at market will help fund the resources needed at the school, pay teacher's wages, feed the children one bowl of porridge every other day and feed the teachers at the school.

 

Future

We are working with the community to create a school model replicable throughout Malawi and beyond, to enable schools to sustainably feed their children a balanced diet. We aim to teach the children at the school nutrition and farming. We aim to create healthy bodies and minds for generations to come.

The Garden to Mouth project is a continuation of LSU’s efforts to ensure that every student is food secure. The 1-hectare Garden is designed as an ecosystem where each plant is beneficial to another. Each plot is designed with integrated pest management, legumes for nitrogen fixation, live mulches and natural diggers to facilitate root development. All of which are edible. Organic pest control and soil management negates the need for external inputs such as pesticides and chemical fertilisers.All crops are grown under a simple gravity fed irrigation system: this increases their yield by 400% when compared to rain fed agriculture and provides more predictability as well as consistency. Please click here for full information on how the project runs and how it is supported.

This project is being supported by Beating Heart records through sales of their album capturing the music of Malawi, early recordings of Hugh Tracey and current artists such as Rudimental, My Nu Leng and Kidnap Kid. For more infomation on this you can visit their site by clicking here

Impact

  • Growing more varied food crops increases nutrition allowing healthy and strong growth of the body and mind
  • Yield increase provides income for families and provides food security
  • Increased yields ensures children can be kept in school and out if the fields
  • Better practices improve the health of the land and stop topsoil being washed away
  • Varied crop growth encourages trade and exports, two things the Malawian economy desperately needs

 

Opportunities

  • £50 provides watering cans and hoses to water crops
  • £100 provides a safety net of food stock for use in times of famine
  • £500 provides a water pump and drip irrigation system for a hectare of land
  • £1,000 pays for seeds to plant 1/3 of crops needed at a school such as Mkunkhu
  • £5,000 provides a bore hole that will provide water for 1/3 of the farmland at Mkunkhu

 

 

How you can get involved

We believe in partnerships and the power of connection. By working together and through creating opportunities which benefit individuals, organisations communities and influence global trends and policies we succeed in empowering communities in poverty.