Changing face of urban agriculture

Changing face of urban agriculture

By
9 June 2015

Dominic Machingura is an urban farmer in Harare, Zimbabwe. He is determined to prove the potential of urban agriculture to produce organic food and generate an income.

Photo: Sizhakele Martha Mukwedini
Photo: Sizhakele Martha Mukwedini

“Many believe growing food is for society’s ‘less privileged’. Starting in my community, I set out to change this false belief. I want to prove the potential to produce organic food and generate an income from urban farming in Belvedere, my home in Harare, Zimbabwe.

In October 2014, with 400 m2 and US$200 I started an urban agriculture project. I have already harvested two cycles of lettuce, enough to feed my family, sell some to the local supermarket and to people in my community. I’ve earnt enough income to invest in a drip irrigation system which will improve my production potential.

I have done the sums. If each of the 400 families in my community put their available land to this use there would be eight hectares for organic food production. This would provide high quality and healthy vegetables for the whole community, and reduce their reliance on vegetables grown more than 1000 kilometres away.

Most of my neighbours are waiting to see how my initiative pans out before starting their own. But one man heard about my work through the Zimbabwe Farmers Union and after a visit to my farm has planted 1000 lettuce seedlings in his back garden. I also collaborate with four other young farmers who live and grow vegetables in other parts of the city.

This is just the beginning of a new community of urban farmers in Harare. I’m confident that my next couple of harvests will encourage those ‘wait and see’ people and my experience will be multiplied. This will go a long way towards rediscovering, re-inventing and re-creating food production systems and ways of living. With some support from the local authorities and cooperation amongst the local community, this simple idea can be realised.”


 

Dominic Machingura can be contacted at evsimeon@gmail.com