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Worms, Partners for Your Crop

Worms are important stakeholders in the environment. Millions of years ago they were as they are now, efficient creatures of the earth. They eat biodegradable items in the ground and excrete nutrients needed for plant growth; they aerate the soil and pull water into it by moving around, thereby improving soil quality.

Waste Management

Worms provide a straightforward and efficient way to breakdown and assimilate biomass with the environment. By diverting biodegradable waste – particularly food waste – from landfills and setting up worm farms, we reduce the pressure and our dependence on landfills, where biomass has to decompose in the absence of air creating methane – known to trap more heat than other greenhouse gases.

Natural fertilizer

Chemical fertilizers cause the deterioration of soil health – killing beneficial microorganisms and making the soil pH more acidic – while supplying nutrients to plants, creating endless need for plant growth. Worms, on the other hand, provide vermi-compost by feeding on the waste of others, speeding up the biodegradation process and repurposing the existing nutrients for plants without harming the soil.

Challenges in worm farming

Worm farming comes with challenges of its own. Here are some common problems with advice on how to deal with them:

#1 Overfeeding

Enthusiastic worm farmers toss all available scrap into the bin. When the worms can’t keep up, it starts to stink. Theoretically, a worm eats up to its weight in a day though due to temperature and other factors, the amount decreases.

  • Feed them every 2 to 3 days and be conservative in the quantity. The worms should start eating one feeding, before the next is added.

#2 Type of foods and size

Worms need a healthy diet. Whole vegetables and watermelon rinds will take too long to break down. Oily, salty or spicy foods, processed food, yogurt and pineapples can spoil the bin.

  • A suitable diet can consist of non-acidic fruit and vegetable scraps, grains, bread, coffee grounds/tea bags, eggshells and even hair. Paper and wet cardboard are acceptable in small quantities.
  • It is helpful to chop or grind all items into smaller pieces to speed up the breakdown process. Doing so also helps reduce odor and discourage pests.

#3 Too Wet or Dry

If over-enthusiastic, one may over-water. If the bin is too wet, the worms may drown or the bin may stink. With less water the bin will dry out, such that the worms can’t tunnel effectively and may dehydrate. The bedding must remain balanced.

  • Best way to check: Pick up a handful from the worm bedding and squeeze it. It should feel like a wrung out sponge.

#4 Forget to harvest the compost

Avid gardeners look forward to getting fresh compost from their worm bin. Non-gardeners are more likely to focus on reducing trash and odor, viewing compost as a mere by-product. Not harvesting the compost will lead to the bins filling up thus creating the need for additional or larger bins. Separating the compost and the worms may be viewed as a time-consuming task. 2 common methods of separation are:

  • Use a mesh/sieve to filter the worms out.
  • Place the bedding in conical piles in the light. Worms dislike light and will burrow to the bottom of the piles leaving worm-free bedding on top.

#5 Too Hot or Cold

Worms thrive in an ideal temperature range, roughly 15-30 degrees Celsius. Any colder and the worms slow down and eventually die. Any warmer and they die quickly.

  • Bin and bedding help regulate the temperature inside the bin, so it is advisable to have a lid or cover for the bin as well.
  • In summers, keep the bin in a cool dry place and regulate bin moisture. In winters, use insulation, keep the bin in a warm place or put dry leaves and grass on top to add more heat.

Worm farms can be set up in all shapes and sizes, be operated by individuals, communities or organizations, indoor and outdoor. Here are instructions for making your own small worm farm.

Chamomile

At the end of a long stressful day, what one desires is a nice restful sleep. In order to get that, one of the go-to solutions is to have a soothing cup of chamomile tea.

When buying chamomile tea at a store, we look out for different brands of the tea, not different types of chamomile. Those who choose to grow their own chamomile are more likely to learn about the different types of chamomile seeds and plants.

With its many similarities and differences, the two main varieties of chamomile are Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) and German chamomile (Matricaria recutita). Other known varieties of chamomile include Moroccan chamomile (Anthemis mixta), Cape chamomile (Eriocephalus punctulatus) and Pineappleweed (Matricaria discoidea). This post focuses on Roman and German chamomile.

The features and benefits of Chamomile are many, some of which might surprise you:

  • Chamomile plants add beauty to a garden as it’s visually pleasing, and have a sweet scent, reminiscent of apples.
  • It is one of the most popular edible wild medicinal plants. Leaves and flowers are both edible but will differ in taste – you can make fresh herbal tea or toss them into a salad.
  • They contain the essential oil ‘chamazulene’ (German chamomile contains a higher concentrate).
  • Chamomile deters garden pests while attracting pollinators – they’re excellent companions for fruits and vegetables.
  • It finds usage medicinally as a mild tranquilizer or sedative, is a natural antiseptic, insect repellent, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-carcinogenic!

Roman chamomile is a low growing perennial ground-cover. It grows to a height of about 12 inches and spreads by rooting stems. Its stems are hairy and produce one flower per stem. The flowers have yellowish rounded discs with white petals. The leaves are fine and feathery.
Native to Northern Africa and Western Europe, the Roman chamomile is commercially grown in Argentina, Belgium, England, France and the United States.

German chamomile is an annual which largely self-sows. It is a more upright plant 24 inches tall and doesn’t spread out like Roman chamomile. The stems branch out, bearing flowers and thicker foliage. The flowers have white petals which droop down from hollow yellow cones. Native to Europe and Asia, it is cultivated for commercial use in Egypt, France, and Eastern Europe.

Growing chamomile

  • Chamomile grows best in cool conditions – while it ought to be planted in part shade, it will also grow in the sun though hot dry weather is considered unfavorable.
  • The soil should be dry.
  • It should be planted in the last frost days before spring. Flowering takes approximately 10 weeks.
  • It is relatively easy to grow chamomile herb in your garden by propagating from divisions or even using seeds.
  • Once the plant has flourished, minimal care is required. It grows best when not fussed over.
  • Excessive use of fertilizer weakens the flavor of the foliage and reduces flowering.
  • Chamomile is drought tolerant and is to be watered only in times of prolonged drought.
    Excessive drought and other issues may however cause the plant to be attacked by aphids, thrips or mealybugs.

Food Desert Turned Oasis

According to the US Department of Agriculture, low-income areas that don’t have access to affordable and nutritious food are known as food deserts. Bonton, one of the oldest African American communities in Dallas Texas was among 40 food desert communities in Dallas.

The Bonton community, largely made up of single parent households, was subject to racial barriers, disease, juvenile delinquency and drug abuse. Along with these problems the community also lacked access to jobs, safe housing, credit and education.

What began simply as a farm to bring the community some fresh produce slowly evolved into a multi-faceted mechanism that has rejuvenated the community.

Bonton farms, operating under the Dallas Foundation now runs two farms, a café and a Farmer’s Market employing people from the community for its range of activities.

 

“30 by 30” – Singapore Government’s Goal Through Urban Farming

Until the 1970s nearly 1 in every 10 Singaporeans was directly or indirectly engaged in fishing or farming activities. Due to rapid urbanization in the 70s and 80s, land-use patterns and occupations changed, and land dedicated to agricultural activities dropped significantly, causing production costs to become much higher than the rest of Southeast Asia.

With minimal land under farming, the densely populated city-state produced less than 10% of its nutritional needs, the rest being met through imports.

However, keeping in mind factors such as climate change and population growth, in the last few years the Singaporean government decided to boost local food supplies. The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) set up the Agriculture Productivity Fund (APF) of S$63 million in 2014. Of the total amount, the majority was earmarked for developments to improve productivity in existing farms, while roughly S$10 million was set aside for research and development in innovative production technologies.

In early 2019, the SFA launched the “30 by 30” campaign whose objective is for Singapore to meet 30% of its nutritional needs locally by 2030. The campaign works through additional grants and incentives promoting urban agricultural innovation to support production of vegetables, eggs and fish using all available spaces, no matter the size.

An additional S$ 3-4 million dollars was allocated to the Landscape Productivity Grant, managed by the National Parks Board. Setting some criteria on the layout of the farms, operations and resultant output, the board ensures support in utilities costs such as potable water, electricity, telecommunications cables, sewage pipes and roadways.

In the apartment complexes that are government-funded, sections of rooftops and car parks have been designated as agricultural spaces.

Towards the end of 2019 the city had 220 farms meeting 14% demand for leafy vegetables, 26% demand for eggs and 10% demand for fish.

While encouraging citizens to join the movement to grow food in and around their homes, the SFA has also taken steps to promote consumption of fresher and more nutritive locally-produced foods. In 2020, they introduced the SFA Fresh Produce logo which will help consumers identify local produce in markets.

Numerous initiatives have cropped up across Singapore led by individuals, communities and businesses, which include:

  • Agritech ventures like Apollo Aquaculture, Comcrops, Citiponics and Sustenir have successfully attracted a lot of media coverage as well as additional funding from government grants and investors.
  • Fairmont Singapore and Swissôtel The Stamford, Singapore’s better-known hotels have started their own 450 sq.m. rooftop aquaponic farm. Using less water, space and labor than standard farming methods the hotels are able to supply edible flowers, vegetables and fish to their restaurants. The gardeners and chefs work together to plan what’s to be grown every 3-4 weeks.
  • Edible Garden City (EGC) – What was once the Queenstown Remand Prison holding 1000 inmates has transformed into a space with an abundance of fragrant herbs and colourful vegetables.
    EGC maintains a balance of agri-tech and natural farming methods in their operations. Compost for soil regeneration, permaculture techniques, climate controlled environments and hydroponics too.
  • Foodscape Collective works with local communities to convert underutilized public spaces into edible community gardens using natural farming methods.

Numerous educational, residential and professional institutions within the city-state have invited EGC and Foodscape Collective to educate and transform spaces available to them.

Other than its aim to increase domestic production for strengthening the ability to sustain itself; due to a weighted focus on Agri-Tech innovation, Singapore also seeks to export its technological advancements to other countries.

Decommissioned Prisons Rejuvenating Communities

Towards the end of the 1970s North Carolina had more prisons and higher incarcerations than any other state in the country. Many of the inmates were incarcerated for minor crimes; most of whom came from minority communities.

Over the years, the US decommissioned nearly 300 prisons across the country, 50-60 of which are in North Carolina. This was done as the government had decided to consolidate smaller prisons into larger ones.

In 2020, a third of the population of Lumberton city, Robeson lived below the poverty line. As per County Health Rankings, around 20-25% people of Robeson and Scotland County experience food insecurity. Moreover, these counties had been ranked among the least healthy counties across the country.

In and around Robeson and Scotland County, North Carolina, a non-profit called Growing Change has spent years working for the betterment of existing interracial communities.

Growing Change initially engaged with young men on juvenile probation – those who had been kicked out of their schools and homes. 2016 onwards, they started welcoming youth facing trouble at home; failing at school; those dealing with mental health or drug abuse; and those involved with the criminal justice system. To these youngsters, Growing Change offers programs consisting of mental health treatments, honing a sense of self-efficacy and a chance to develop the skills and attitude suitable for employability.

The central theme of the organisation’s work is to give back to the community. Even in the years prior to the pandemic, participants who tended to the gardens, distributed the produce among community members who needed it. In turn, the community started viewing these once troubled young men differently.

The founder of Growing Change, Noran Sanford – social worker and mental health therapist, acquired a lease of one such facility, abandoned and unkempt, from the state’s Department of Public Safety at no cost – Scotland Correctional Center in Wagram, Scotland County.

The organisation put its affiliated youth in charge of creating and achieving the collective vision of transforming the 67 acre facility compound into an education center and sustainable farm. Seizing this opportunity, the youth have presented their ideas to universities and government offices in NC, gaining their support and guidance especially for agrarian and design tips.

Through this initiative Sanford wishes to address the following problems:

  • high number of young people entering the criminal justice system
  • absence of job opportunities for veterans
  • decline in small, independent farmers in the area
  • residents’ lack of access to local, sustainable food
  • health disparities between urban and rural areas

 “The vision to take something discarded, unsightly, and unproductive and turn it into a working organization that serves a variety of purposes is unprecedented,” said Scotland County Commissioner Carol McCall.

Participants are engaged in numerous tasks required for the transformation of the facility. They are salvaging usable materials from the facility to make modifications to the cells and fields for better management of processes. The multitude of activities consist of: bee-keeping, poultry farming, sheep herding for wool and meat, composting & vermin-culture and organic farming.

Future plans include the creation of aquaponic tanks; cultivation of mushrooms in former prison cells; setting up a certified community kitchen; a prison history museum; a climbing wall up a guard tower; a recording studio in what remains of the solitary-confinement building; and of course staff quarters and office space.

Sanford creates revenue streams to compensate the youth and pay for the program. They sell the meat and wool from the sheep, eggs and salad greens. Due to the pandemic they decided to supply the produce from their farms to the community for free though they eventually plan to grow the ingredients for ‘chow-chow’ — a recipe honoring the various backgrounds of program participants: collards for the African-American, tomatoes for the Native Americans, cabbage for the Scotch-Irish, and jalapeños for the Latinx — and offer the product for sale.

Aspiring to create a replicable model, Sanford is currently creating an open-source prison-flipping model with step-by-step instructions and online resources. He is planning to distribute it to each of the communities with the 300 aforementioned closed prisons later this year via the national cooperative extension system.

His vision is to help low-wealth Americans convert spaces meant to confine and punish into spaces that nourish and rehabilitate.

When it comes to rehabilitation in comparison to recidivism, impact in the long run is valuable to society. According to Sanford, the youth are learning, building and working together to shape their common vision, while working on interpersonal relationships and healing family systems. Sanford believes that the intervention is playing a positive role in their lives. Additionally, few participants have gone on to attend college, join the military and secure steady employment.

As described by Davon Goodwin – Army-veteran turned farmer; among the Board of Directors for Growing Change – Agriculture is perfect for the youth, especially for those with PTSD like himself. Farming provides refuge and a sense of purpose for those struggling with trauma. Working with soil is humbling and brings a sense of calm that the youth need.

Indonesian City-Dwellers Are Turning Into Farmers

During times of global crisis, citizens across countries have often turned to urban farming to sustain themselves and be more self-sufficient.

Vegetable gardens were greatly encouraged during the First and Second World Wars to prevent food shortages. In fact, in the period after the Second World War, 40% of the vegetables consumed in the United States came from city and town gardens. These gardens were set up in schools, backyards and unused plots. Even the front lawns of the White House were used to grow vegetables.

The latest crisis is the COVID pandemic, and with millions of Covid-19 cases exploding worldwide, most countries are restricting the movement of their citizens to curb the pandemic. One of the most populous countries in the world, Indonesia is no different.

Forced to spend more time at home, physically cut off from markets and suppliers, many Indonesians are taking up urban farming.

Java, Indonesia’s most densely populated island, is home to more than half of the country’s total population. However, the country’s urban farming boom is showing that scarcity of space isn’t an insurmountable hurdle.

More and more urban Indonesians are growing food as a community-driven measure to promote food security. It is also therapeutic for individuals and the environment, and reduces the negative impacts of conventional farming

Urban farmers in Jakarta and Yogyakarta have shared how urban farming has helped during the Pandemic.

While having to remain in self-quarantine, residents have either started hydroponic farms for growing vegetables or makeshift fishponds (even in buckets) placing plastic cups housing plants around the ponds.

Not only do these farms provide for self-sustenance, caring for the farms has become a hobby that diverts attention from worrisome Covid-19 news and helps reduce pandemic-induced stresses. In some cases, it has even led to income generation from produce being sold to neighbours.

Tahlim Sudaryanto, R&D chairman of the Ministry of Agriculture, noted how urban neighbourhoods and communities are converting small plots into vegetable gardens. He attributes this shift to citizens realising the importance of food security in the wake of the pandemic.

Endang Tri Margawati, a biotech researcher with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences does point out that while the concept of urban farming has existed for years and numerous methods can be incorporated in the practice, the number of urban farms will have to grow exponentially for it to become a viable food security solution.

The hope is that even after the pandemic recedes, more people continue with urban farming, thus becoming less reliant on commercial farmers for their daily needs. Other countries would do well to promote similar practices among urban dwellers.

Nagaland’s Growing Mushroom Network

Mushroom cultivation is an age-old practice across the globe. China, Japan, US, UK, Italy, Poland and Germany are among the largest producers worldwide.

Mushrooms are a type of fungi that grow by way of an ever expanding network of white filaments – forming mycelia (the vegetative part of the fungi) – in moisture- and nutrition-rich environments. Known to be both nutritious and medicinal, they are traded extensively.

Though mushrooms of various shapes and sizes grow naturally in abundance, more intentional, scientific methods are implemented to boost quantity and quality of the produce by mushroom farmers worldwide. In a sterile ‘Lab-like’ environment, propagation of mycelia in containers containing grains is facilitated. Grains colonized by mycelia are called Spawns.

Spawns are to mushrooms what seeds are to plants.

Refrigerated spawns can have a shelf life of 2-3 months, creating a market for farmers who can’t produce spawns themselves.

As plants need soil, mushrooms also need a substrate for nutrition. Sawdust, manure and straw are common substrates, although selection of substrate depends on the mushrooms being grown. Substrates are sterilised before introducing spawns to the mix, to remove bacteria and microorganisms that may damage the spawns.

Technical expertise in spawn production results in better quality and quantity of mushroom produce, and capital requirement for spawn production is higher than any other part of the process.

Across India, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Tripura are some of the larger producer states.

Scientists and researchers associated with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research have made strides in improving and simplifying mushroom cultivation for farmers and entrepreneurs for some years now.
Dr Sosang Longkumer of Nagaland, after dedicating years to research and experimentation under CSIR and the ICAR Naga Lab, is one such individual.

Shiitake mushrooms (native to East Asia) are valued as medicine and nutrient and are heavily imported in India. The use of hardwood trees like oak as the substrate is known to enhance quality and flavour of the produce.

With ICAR, the Department of Horticulture and the Nagaland government promoting programs for mushroom farming, Dr Longkumer now plays a central role in the cultivation of shiitake, oyster mushrooms and others in Nagaland.

Some key insights from Dr Longkumer’s are:

  • Nagaland forests are dominated by hardwood trees such as Chestnut, Oak and Alder
  • Nagaland’s laws allow forest land to be used for income generation activities
  • Shiitake cultivation in India is best suited to Nagaland
  • Besides Spawn production, the other steps require low investment to give quick returns and can be taken on as a full time activity or as an alternative source of income.

Dr Longkumer supplies spawns from his personal spawn production laboratory located in Kashiram village, Dimapur, Nagaland. He also provides step-by-step instructions to people interested in growing shiitake and other mushrooms, actively communicating with farmers via Whatsapp groups, sharing information, feedback and reviews to support them.

In an interview with Morung Express he advises mushroom cultivators of Nagaland to care for the environment while using the hardwood forests. This is to be done by cutting branches from healthy trees rather than cutting entire trees.

With Nagaland picking up cultivation of Shiitake, maybe one day it will not just meet India’s domestic demand but also lead in exports.

Also see: Mushroom Farming for Beginners

Cultivation Amidst Urbanization in Seoul

At a time when urban areas are plagued by high pollution, extreme natural disasters, a bustling metropolis in South Korea is making amends. The capital city of Seoul is challenging the popular opinion of urban spaces being unhealthy.

It all started in 2012 when the city government launched their first scheme on urban farming with the aim to make the city’s residents and environment healthy. Since then, the city has come a long way with the government leaving no stone unturned to encourage the citizens to take up urban farming actively by:

  • Helping secure patches of urban land for farming
  • Providing relevant training
  • Organizing exchange programs with rural areas
  • Setting up farm support centers for the citizens

With 10 million residents Seoul is a highly dense city, but that has not hindered the growing popularity of urban gardens, as not just horizontal but vertical gardens on walls and rooftops of buildings have become an accepted farming practice.

With social and ecological benefits, urban farming has also proved to be empowering both economically and health-wise. Encouraging local production and distribution, the practice has helped create employment opportunities and led to a healthy population. A strong sense of community has been created with people collectively engaging in farming activities. Speaking about the urban farming project, Lee Byung-hun, a city official in charge of the project said, “We refer to these participating groups as urban farming communities. The main focus of these projects is not supplying food; it’s about the social experience the urban farms can bring to residents. We’re also providing hands-on gardening experience and environmental education to children at urban farms set up next to kindergartens.”

Ecologically speaking, the gardens are helping increase green cover in the city, bringing down carbon emissions and air pollution. With much scope for innovation, communities are looking to introduce rainwater harvesting and solar power in their farming initiatives.

Since 2012, the urban farms in Seoul have seen a good deal of progress. In October 2020, the city government announced a scheme to further increase land under urban farms by adding another 40 acres to its existing 202 acres of urban farms by making an investment of close to US$216 million until the year 2024.

Also read: Seoul unveils plan to create 1 million urban farmers

Of the Community, By the Community, For the Community

Harlem Grown is an organisation based out of Harlem, New York that works towards youth development and food justice through mentorships, hands-on education and urban farming (for nutrition and sustainability).

Tony Hillery, the man behind Harlem Grown started this work in 2011, with a desire to encourage members of the Harlem community to live healthier, greater lives.

Food justice, as explained, is more than simply distributing food. They seek to positively impact the entire community and create sustainable change.

The urban farming movement that is Harlem Grown, was influenced by multiple factors. Other than Hillery’s interest in children’s well-being and growth, came the awareness of the growing crisis of food insecurity; the apparent lack of quality of schooling in underprivileged/deprived communities and institutional disparities among social and racial communities.

When the initiative was started the children in the community didn’t recognize, much less eat many vegetables. At present, the community’s local garden itself, is home to melons, eggplants, tomatoes, leafy vegetables and much more. What’s more, the children are now quite likely to pick the veggies off of the vines to eat.

“It’s a simple formula here that if a child plants it, they will eat it. Eighty percent of the time that they eat it, they’ll like it,” said Hillery in an interview with Good Morning America.

The onset of the COVID19 pandemic heightened their sense of purpose, bringing about a revelation for the organization. Apart from Food Justice, the community has gained a more driven intent than before. There is now a need to empower the communities, with understanding through deeper racial and social justice lens.

Accomplishments for Harlem Grown stakeholders include:

  • Community members (especially children) learning about nutrition and nature
  • Learning to be responsible in caring for themselves and the environment
  • Actively and positively engaging people of all ages within communities
  • Repurposing vacant/ abandoned plots for urban farming
  • Understanding the importance of taking ownership
  • Diverting food waste from landfill to composting
  • Creating relations with schools in other areas
  • Eating healthier

(Also read: Harlem Grown: Sowing the Seeds of Hope in Young Children)

In Montenegro Urban Agriculture Projects Are Blossoming During The Pandemic

Whether due to job losses or as a way to escape the dull reality of quarantine measures, or both, many citizens of Montenegro have started cultivating gardens, parks and any other available land during the COVID pandemic.

Since this spring, new urban farmers in Bar and other towns have either launched or joined existing civic initiatives that promote urban gardening and cultivating healthy organic food.

Some of these associations, such as the Plantadjun and Experimental Garden projects, already produced their first harvests at the end of this summer. They gave away some of their produce as donations to charities and religious organizations that feed people in need.

The small and mainly mountainous country of only a little above 600,000 citizens has limited agricultural capacities. Only 13.7 per cent of the country’s territory was suitable for arable production, the industrialization across Yugoslavia at the end of World War II led to depopulation of the villages and increased tourism over the past decade has contributed to the decline of agriculture. Imports of fruits and vegetables has grown from 37.7 million euros in 2009 to to 76.3 million euros in 2019, while exports dropped from 6.9 million euros to 6.4 million euros during this time.

Among the pioneers of the urban gardening revival in Montenegro was the Ekologika garden, established in 2014 in a neighborhood of Mareza, six kilometers from the centre of the capital, Podgorica. The founder Aleksandar Novovic, a political scientist, invited residents of nearby urban areas to use his family’s land for free, without any help from public funds, with the sole aim of promoting eco-friendly urban gardening.

This idea was further developed by several civic society initiatives and projects, such as Plantadjun, which promotes urban gardening as a way to support socialization and the cultivation of healthy food. Its pilot project, which started in January this year in the municipality of Bar, received much publicity in local and national media as a success story, especially after the outbreak of COVID 19.

The project used private land, without paying any rent for it. Each of the participants, or Plantadjuns, was supposed to cultivate a 25-square-meter plot; in this first year, the produce was either used for private consumption or was shared with friends and neighbours to promote the project.

Next year, all Plantadjuns will be obliged to give 10 per cent of their produce to the owner of the land, and another 10 per cent for the sustainability of the project; this will be sold on local markets and the funds reinvested to buy seeds for the next planting season.

Project coordinators will monitor the entire process and supervise the measuring, collecting and distribution of the produce.

Project teams will also organise the preparation of the soil for sowing, including ploughing and fertilization, as well as obtain necessary materials such as seeds, water, tools and a tool shed.

The project was supported this year by the Ministry of Science of Montenegro and Bar city administration. By the end of the season, Plantadjuns had collected over 1,000 kilos of vegetables, mostly zucchini, potatoes and tomatoes.

After providing numerous food donations for people in need during the summer season, Plantadjun and Ekologika partnered up in November with Paradigma, an NGO that fosters sustainable, eco-friendly practices and movements.

“When it comes to sustainable agriculture, most people only look at it through its environmental and economic aspects; they neglect the social aspect, which is also very important,” Bar city administrator Cazim Alkovic says, “Especially in these times of the further impoverishment of the population.”

Source: Urban Farming Takes Root in COVID-Hit Montenegro