This Farmer Converted His Trash Dump Into An Urban Garden That Everyone Can Eat From

In November 2019, Victor Edalia, a 32-year-old resident of Kibera, Kenya, purchased a trash dump with the intention of generating extra income by selling fresh greens to local restaurants. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, Edalia saw an opportunity to help alleviate the widespread food insecurity that arose.

Edalia converted the dump into an urban vegetable farm, which served as a free pantry for ten families to collect spinach, collard greens, and peppers. This was in contrast to the usual food donations, which mainly comprised dry foods without vegetables.

As the pandemic caused economic hardship for families worldwide, Edalia’s enterprise grew in scale, and his farm now provides fresh greens for over 250 families. This is more than 25 times the number of people he initially served. Today, the farm continues to play a vital role in supporting the community’s food security.

Human Needs, a non-profit organization, became aware of Edalia’s efforts and arranged for him and his team to receive training from Hydroponics Africa, another organization focused on providing affordable farming solutions.

Thanks to the joint efforts of these two organizations, Edalia’s farm was able to significantly increase its crop yield and efficiently distribute its produce through a voucher system, though families in need could still receive free vegetables even without a voucher.

Furthermore, the farm now produces so much excess produce that Edalia is able to sell it to local schools, achieving his original goal of creating a crop-based business while still being able to help the less fortunate.

Urban farmer Victor Edalia (right) with three beneficiaries of his free veggies in 2020 (left to right): Sheila Musimbi, a single mom; Celine Oinga, who comes from a family of 9 siblings; and Jackline Oyamo, jobless due to the pandemic. He’s expanded his garden — and giveaways — since then.

It’s hard to imagine that the vibrant rows of growing plants and efficient hydroponic watering systems at the farm were once located on a trash dump. Truly, Edalia’s example is one to follow and learn from.

“You know, times are tough,” Soila Amboi, one of the regular visitors to the farm, told NPR. “And having someone like Victor here, we call him ‘olum’ meaning the blessed one. He is truly blessing us indeed.”

Once you open the brown rusted padlock, the inside of Edalia’s former garbage dump now has the feel of a commercial farm. Rows of neatly organized greens sprout from hundreds of plastic cups on stacked plastic pipes. The farm has embraced a hydroponic system, a water-based method. Fresh collard greens, spinach, peppers, and other vegetables are all mounted above the ground, putting on a show.

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