3rd World Countries and SFG
One of the big advantages of taking SFG overseas and into third world countries is that has a pronounced effect on not only the health and income of all of the poor and hungry but we begin to see many other advantages of this system. I’ll explain that in a little more detail.
The first step in introducing SFG into a third world country is to go directly to the women in each household. We ask them, “Would you like to improve the nutrition of your children so they are healthier?” Of course, the answer is a resounding, “YES!”. In fact, a mother will do almost anything for her children. As a side note, if we asked the man the same question, he will first ask, “What do you have in mind? And, how will that help me?” Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it is a totally different attitude. The man wants to protect his family and provide for it. We have found that the man of the family expects whoever is providing this program to provide some land – at least a few hectares. He will want a tractor with gasoline and a bunch of farm animals and he will need a great deal of fertilizer, seeds, insecticides and all the other things that he knows the American farmer uses. He wants the same so he can be successful and thus provide for his family. It’s a macho attitude, but that’s the way we men are.
Back to the lady of the house. We explain to her that we will teach her how to a) make compost and b) use it in a small condensed box garden that will provide her family with fresh nutritious uncontaminated vegetables. Since everything is home-made and home grown it won’t cost any money and they will be able to eat much better without finding an added income.
Step a) Making the compost. We would like them to start with Mel’s Mix but the vermiculite and peat moss are often not available or much too expensive for a third world family. But if you remember the photograph in week three of my four by four table top square foot model all those luscious plants were growing in four and a half inches of pure home-made compost.
Our direction is to teach her and her children what and how to gather the materials for their own home made compost. Since animal manure is a prime ingredient, we’ll send the kids out with a plastic bag and home-made scoop to search for local manure and its always easy to find. Most farm or domesticated animals run loose. If you’ll picture a cow or donkey walking along the road or fields…when they have to go…they go. And there it sits, until nature decomposes it and it works its way into the existing soil. Now picture what happens when it rains. The rainwater loosens and dilutes the manure and where does it go? Downhill! And what’s downhill everywhere in the world? A stream or body of water which now becomes contaminated and a danger to the people downstream because that’s where they get their drinking, cooking and washing water. Our kids have now scooped up all that manure soon after it falls and take it back home to their compost pile.
They also collect any grass clippings overgrown weeds, plant material that has been thrown out by neighbors, leaves that have fallen. Anything that was once growing and is now laying around is scooped up taken home for their compost pile. In addition of course are food scraps from the kitchen as well as the remains of eating fruit and vegetables. Banana peels, orange skins, anything like that go into the compost pile. We teach them to chop it all up and mix it all together.
Once they learn to stir the pile up, turn it often, watch it to make sure it heats up which indicates that the material is decomposing and of course keep it moist they should have a finished pure organic compost ready for the garden soil in two to four weeks. If they just pile it, don’t mix, don’t turn, don’t moisten it may take two to four months.
What have we accomplished so far as non-gardening events? We’ve kept the children very busy and active outside hopefully without getting into trouble doing something that is going to reduce pollution, materials that would eventually go to the landfill, if there is one. Clean up and brighten the neighborhood, eliminate stream pollution and feel a great sense of accomplishment by what they are doing. A mother has organized them, cleaned up their own yard, arranged for spots for the compost operation, and has a feeling of great pride in her children because the family is working towards a common goal. They are working together toward a common goal. This is going to reduce their need for costly food and give them very fresh and very nutritious cost effect foot daily.
Check out Part Two of Taking SFG Overseas!