Spring 2013

Homabay, Kenya

One of the biggest challenges to implementing orchards into impoverished communities is developing long-term goals for financial stability. Farmers do not have the ability to wait for several years before income is generated. Thus the long term planning to plant an orchard is rarely considered a viable option.

In the Spring of 2013, A Growing Culture worked alongside the local women of Homacay to create a diversified orchard model that allowed for both short- and long-term benefits. A diverse selection of mango varieties were planted at normal intervals with papaya trees in between (papaya trees mature faster than mango trees). In between these rows cassava and a variety of native, nitrogen fixing short-season vegetables were planted. This model incorporated immediate (vegetables), intermediate (cassava and papaya), and long term (mangoes) return.

Cover crops and deep-rooted grasses were incorporated into the design as well to minimize labor during the dry season, retain water, and build organic matter. The design of the diversified orchard is a great example of how the permaculture method of layer farming can be implemented to create short- and long-term models for economic stability.