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Guerrilla Farming – Haller Style:
I was overjoyed to find the Haller site. What they are doing is true to the heart of what the kabook-i method creates; a cycle of life that has a beneficial impact on the environment and the community as a whole.
Haller’s urban slum garden brings their innovative farming techniques from a rural to an urban environment. They show communities cheap, simple ways to produce food, purify water and use sustainable energy in a very confined space. Their urban slum garden model can be applied worldwide to help people improve the health and livelihoods of impoverished societies.
The opportunity to improve the lives of poorer communities is often there, right before your eyes, but just as often overlooked (can’t see the wood for the trees)
Take water for example, during the rainy season the land floods, then the water drains away. Come the dry season and there is no water. Women have to walk, often up to 20km a day, to collect water; this, of course, is a terrible burden. The solution could be as simple as digging a hole and lining it with heavy-duty bin bags. One cubic metre equals 1000 litres of water. One person requires a minimum of two litres drinking water a day; you do the math. There are a number of water purification systems available for that stored water such as SODIS which Haller are using, and the “slow sand filter” method. Digging for, and using pathogen rich ground water or river water is the number one contributor to ill health and infant mortality in developing countries.
Using the raised bed, no-dig garden method, or Square Foot Gardening, uses 70% less water that conventional farming, can be done by a household in a small space, often using discarded items such as bags, buckets or bread baskets, cuts out transport, supplies fresh vegetables daily … the list goes on. And once again, it’s about recycling, because people can produce and save seeds and compost leftover leaves etc which becomes …
Organic humus; it’s great to see that Haller have composting and/or vermiculture (worms) at the heart of their system. Mixing brown and green carbons such as sawdust and vegetable scraps quickly creates compost that creates organic, non toxic humus in which you grow healthy vegetables that don’t negatively impact the environment with chemicals such as pesticides. There urban gardens also produce natural, health giving herbs and medicines such a Aloe Vera. These are cheap and readily available medicines for a community that would otherwise not be able to afford them.
Another innovation I loved was their biogas system. Families in developing countries often have respiratory problems due to cooking on open wood fires in their hut.
By using waste products they can produce enough biogas to cook cleanly indoors; a huge health improvement.
Please take the time to check out their site HERE , where you can find out more on solar energy, aquaponics and living walls.
IN ADDITION here is another great guerrilla farming initiative; the most exciting sustainable food project in Chicago in recent history. Hiding in an abandoned former meatpacking warehouse on the South Side, The Plant might just change the way we think about food production in cities.
The Plant at 1400 West 46th street in Chicago is an old packing plant converted to a state of the art hydroponic farm, fish farm, brewery, baking center, and will use zero energy when it is finished. Director John Edel inspects herbs being grown in hydroponics on the lower level: Tuesday, January 8, 2013. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times