Today I was in Moyo a town some four hours from Arua – here there is one CRESS group and this is led by the Leader of the Mothers Union – Cecilia Yango the wife of Bishop Emmanuel Murye the bishop of the Diocese of Kajo Keji. Here they have to “ farm“ in the town i.e. urban farming.
Urban farming can basically be defined as any activity which grows useful trees, fruits, cereals, vegetables or herbs within an urban setting. Urban farming has very different challenges and opportunities as compared to farming in more rural settings.
One of those challenges is usually limited access to land due to land competition. Fortunately, the Mother’s Union vegetable group at St. Paul’s, Church of Uganda in Moyo have been given more than sufficient land to grow their seedlings and for vegetable beds.
The pastor of St. Paul’s Adrian Ronald, pictured here second from the right, is a special man. The generosity and sense of sharing from his leadership has meant that South Sudanese refugees living in Moyo town are welcomed as part of the Mother’s Union (M.U.) group together with Ugandans. He has fully supported the women’s vegetable project, and with seeds, equipment and training from CRESS they have been able to establish their nursery close to the church.
This vegetable seedling nursery is shown in the picture together with the M.U. leaders from second left Ester, Cecilia and Mary. One of the opportunities of urban farming is the ready availability of different more durable materials. We can see here that the group has managed to construct a substantial fence with split canes, and the nursery beds are bordered and the shade raised with burned bricks which will last for more than one planting cycle. Materials for these functions in more rural settings have to be replaced each time.
Two other opportunities of urban farming are access to markets and exposure. Increased exposure means more people will see the garden with the possibility of becoming interested in the activity and want to learn more. This has already happened as two nurses from across the road came over to see what the group were doing and have now joined the group themselves to learn more about vegetable growing. The group are very much aware of the proximity of Moyo market and are keen to sell some of their vegetables there. This will give them an easily accessed source of income after harvesting.
Written by Olivia Jones