Vegetables and fruits can be grown easily in tropical Sri Lanka.
The Ponnaveli GN Division in Poonakary, Northern Sri Lanka was the theatre of the worst fighting during the thirty-year war until 2009. Families in this area have low incomes and the women have few or no employable skills enabling them to find employment.
Ponnaveli will be the pilot for WE GROW OUR OWN FOOD, to enable the local communities to catch up with the rest of the country in terms of health, livelihood and hope for the future.
WE GROW OUR OWN FOOD will improve the health and well-being of the families of Ponnaveli, providing them with local organic fresh vegetables and eggs. It will be expanded to the neighbouring areas, by encouraging and training the home gardening families to sell food baskets. This will generate income for the home gardening families and include them in the local economy.
The stages are:
- Safe water will be provided to the villages to enable them to drink, cook and cultivate their crops.
- A selection of 8-12 crops that thrive in the Poonakary area has been identified by Appé Lanka.
- Families in Ponnaveli will learn composting, planting and low-water cultivation to grow organic vegetables in their home gardens, as well as poultry farming for eggs.
All gardeners will be trained about healthy eating and how this helps prevent NCDs which are common in the area.
Crops and eggs will be prepared in baskets for sale to other families and delivered regularly. Healthy menu ideas and nutrition advice will be provided with the seasonal produce.
A resident local Coordinator will ensure day-to-day support and communication with the distribution network. The farmers will be trained to collect and communicate information to the Coordinator.
A communication campaign will be developed and launched to inform potential buyers and encourage on-line subscriptions.
The entire process is scalable as crop production increases. Seeds will be used to spread home gardening to neighbouring families and the pilot will be replicated.