Slum turned vegetable garden

A blogger tell us how an ingenious idea got a group of shantytown residents to transform their quarters from a slum into a biological farm. Read more...


Before and after: a pile of rubbish... turns vegetable garden.

A blogger tell us how an ingenious idea got a group of Kenyan shantytown residents to transform their quarters into a biological farm.

This post was published by "Afrigadget", a blog run by Erik Hersman.


Kibera, Africa's biggest slum seen from space.

Not surprisingly, popular images of people living in desperate conditions aren't far from the truth when it comes to this corner of Nairobi - but out of the madness comes a little hope.


Raw sewage flows above ground.

"I witnessed some amazing innovations in Kibera and conclude that people have adjusted to their situation and are making the most of it. Because of the stress associated with limitations on land, energy, water, and food, the people have found innovative ways of surviving. This post is mainly about farming.

Vertical farming

This guy's vertical garden feeds his family and he even sells some produce. It's a variation on what JKE wrote about in the post on Keyhole gardens in Botswana.

Like the key hole gardens of Swaziland, this veggie patch serves a family on a tiny piece of land.

Finding land in rubbish

Now a local organic farming company, Green Dreams, has been documenting the progress of transforming a garbage dump to an organic farm on the Green Dreams blog.

They are working with a local youth group comprising reformed criminals in converting garbage into organic manure, and garbage dumps into organic farms.

Before the clean up and farming:

Clearing land of garbage.

Installing irrigation.

Irrigation taps the mains water and supplies nutrient rich feeds from organic fertilizer produced on the site from crops and worms. Yes, they harvested local earthworms to start vermiculture.

Worm farm - just a tray with kitchen wastes feeds a bunch of earthworms that produce organic liquid manure.

Planting seedlings, cleared waste is bundled under shade cloth and planted with pumpkin to create a green soil erosion barrier.

Check out the planting implements, a PVC Pipe adapted to deliver seeds into a perfectly dug hole! This was invented to help with the back-breaking work of planting.


Garbage dump transformed: this is the Kibera organic farm - three months after clearing the dump.

After three months the community of 30 families were harvesting, eating and selling organic produce. Yum! Impossible to ignore how a dirty dump turned green. Everyone wants a farm in Kibera now. This group is now selling their expertise to raise funds and help others.


Natural bean tenderizer

There was a smouldering fire where banana leaves were being reduced to ash, then the ash dissolved in water and the brown murky astringent solution sold for Ksh 50 ($0.80 cents) per 250 ml in vodka bottles! This is a bean tenderizer reducing the time to boil red kidney beans by 50%! Imagine the savings on charcoal/ fuel.

Safe dispensing of fuel

Kerosene is dispensed from a caged petrol pump for security.

Notice that there was no protection around the farm or its equipment. Apparently the reputation of these ‘reformed criminals' is enough of a deterrent.

Kids in Kibera

Life might be hard in Kibera but yet when you visit you can't ignore the vibrancy, colorfulness and camaradery amongst the inhabitants. It was one time that I got the feeling that people here love life."