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Creating a Food Forest in Northern Kenya!

Deforestation, food security, drought, climate change and land conservation are serious issues facing many parts of the globe.  These environmental issues threaten the well being of people as well as the natural ecosystems.  Tackling such involved and interconnected issues takes enormous effort and a forward thinking strategy.

Sadhana Forest is attempting to right these issues by finding innovative ways to support local rural villages.  It turns out that growing drought resistant food-bearing trees could be the ideal solution. Planting indigenous tree species provides multiple benefits.  By retaining water and filling the aquifer, Sadhana Forest allows local villagers to cultivate their food and it prevents exodus to nearby city slums.  The forest, which will be filled with oxalogenic trees will also absorb carbon from the air and fix it into the soil as calcium carbonate (limestone). This permanent sequestration of carbon is an important small-scale strategy for combating climate change.

Most recently, Sadhana Forest – Kenya has plans to create an indigenous forest in the Samburu district. To accomplish this task, it is following the forest model that it pioneered in other parts of the world.  In fact, Sadhana Forest won the third place at the Humanitarian Water and Food Awards (WAF) in 2010, which validated its achievements in India and Haiti.  The forest of indigenous, food-bearing trees will help provide long-term food security to the Samburu people. Working together with thousands of Samburu families, Sadhana Forest is looking to reduce dependency on foreign aid, improve the local environment, and provide a consistent source of nutritious food.

By setting up a large tree nursery with food-bearing trees and providing training for tree planting and water conservation, the area will be transformed into a healthy, diverse eco-system and the Samburu will be able to lead a healthy, self-sustaining life.

-          The Samburu district covers an area of roughly 21,000 km², most of it is barren.

-          The district has a population of 223,947, with 187,594 are living in rural settings and 36,353 in urban areas.

-          73% of people in Samburu live below the Kenyan poverty line.

-          Only 15% of Samburu have access to safe drinking water.

-          44% of households get water from unprotected wells or springs and 26% of get their water from rivers or streams.

-          Average house distance to nearby water sources is 2.29Miles.

The following statistics provide a better understanding of the health and nutrition challenges in the Samburu district:

Children under 5:
Severely Malnourished 0.8%
Malnourished 14.3%
Severely Underweight 10%
Underweight 44%
Child Mortality Rate 142 out of 1,000 live births
Maternal Mortality Rate 1,000 out of 100,000 

Working with the 1% for the Planet Network

Sadhana Forest is already working in cooperation with both 1% for the Planet member businesses and nonprofit partners.

The Green Belt Movement and its branch located in Maralal, is collaborating in nursery work and tree planting.

Christophe Curci , an architect and member of 1% for the Planet, has generously contributed to Sadhana Forest – Kenya.

Successes

Despite enormous challenges, Sadhana Forest is making progress in the Samburu district.

- Sadhana Forest – Kenya officially registered as an International NGO in Kenya December 11, 2012.

- In partnership with Professor Eric Verrecchia, from the Institute of Earth Sciences of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, Sadhana Forest is working on research of oxalogenic species. These species absorb carbon from the air and fix it into the soil as calcium carbonate (limestone). Sadhana Forest – Kenya has identified Afzelia africana (African Oak), as one of the tree species of choice. Afzelia seeds can be milled into flour and are highly nutritious, containing 16% protein and 9mg of iron.

- Identified a piece of land of 30 acres, ideally located for the infrastructure of the project.

-  Raised the funds needed to purchase the land, demarcate it, and receive permission to drill the bore well.

Challenges

Sadhana Forest – Kenya’s nursery is following an extremely ambitious agenda.  It is being designed to initially provide 100,000 seedlings per year. There are hopes to enlarge the nursery to 250,000 trees within the next two years. These indigenous, food-bearing trees will be planted by local people, close to their homes where protecting and caring for them will be easier.

Every year, a minimum of 100,000 trees will be planted. Assuming that only 50% of the trees will reach maturity and that the trees will produce food after an average of 5 years, in 10 years, 50,000 people will be fed by 250,000 trees. This is an average of 5 food bearing tree per person, which is more than sufficient for their dietary needs. After 15 years, there are plans and hopes to have 500,000 trees, which could support as many as 100,000 people.  Such an agenda will require years of dedication and hard work.

Call to Action

You can learn more about the Sadhana Forest project and how to get involved by visiting sadhanaforestkenya.org.

To make a donation to this extremely important cause, you can make a tax exempt 501(c)(3) contribution to Sadhana Forest through the Auroville International USA website: https://aviusa.org/donations

Alternatively, you can make a contribution through the We The Trees platform: http://www.wethetrees.com/campaigns/lets-create-a-food-forest-in-north-kenya

Funds raised now will be assist with training and tree growing infrastructure as well as sustaining the running costs for the first two years.

A More Sustainable Future

The Sadhana Forest model is committed to establishing permanent centers and not temporary projects. They have been working in Tamil Nadu India for 9 years and in Haiti for 3 years, expanding each of these programs annually.  Success for Sadhana Forest – Kenya would be the creation of an indigenous food forest in the Samburu district that will feed a minimum of 50,000 people within 10 years. The trees will then provide food security for a minimum period of 50 years. In the process, the area will be transformed into a healthy, diverse eco-system.

Please contact Aviram Rozin, Founder and Director of Sadhana Forest, sadhanaforest@gmail.com, +91-944-253-4133 with any further questions.

 

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