The Haller Demonstration Plot is 1000 square metres of land that is planted using the techniques from the Haller Farmer Training Centre. Farmers are able to learn from this ‘finished article’ and replicate it on their own nearby plots. We’ve seen this to be a highly effective way of motivating behaviour change amongst smallholders, showing them the tangible difference that Haller’s techniques can have on crop production.
Taking agro-ecology to the city: the Urban Slum Garden (Bustani): While rural and peri-urban communities are key focuses of Haller’s work, the Haller Foundation has also pioneered work for city communities. One of the innovations piloted at the Farmer Training Centre is the Bustani, or Urban Shamba. The project is designed to show families living in urban slums that they can improve their livelihoods by growing food, harvesting and purifying water and by creating their own energy sources using low cost and environmentally sound techniques. The project addresses urban poverty in slums through an innovative project which shows how to grow food in the tiniest of spaces. Millions of people across Africa have migrated to urban areas in the search of opportunity. This rural migration very often results in the transfer of poverty, malnutrition and hunger from rural to urban areas. In cities, and without access to land and water, they then have to spend as much as 75% of their daily income just trying to buy food for the day. The incessant cycle of trying to earn enough to buy food makes it impossible to get out of the slums and often results in children (particularly girls) being forced to beg and scavenge rather than be in school, leaving them vulnerable to gangs and violence, unwanted pregnancies, HIV and has a detrimental impact on health and income levels for the majority of families.
Haller has built an innovative Bustani and garden to illustrate 30 practical low cost ways to improve the lives of urban families. We have adapted many of the techniques we have used successfully with smallholder farmers to enable people living in slums to produce food, energy, and harvest clean water enabling families to grow enough to eat, and to be able to generate some income and take their first step onto the economic ladder.