What was once one barren land has transformed to this beautiful landscape with the beauty of the morning sun. This is a photo I took after 4 years of the food forest I started in 2014. Here is the story.
I read two stories a few years ago when I was in university. One was a booked I picked up from the Library titled “The boy who harnessed the wind” and the other was a video I watched on youtube a called “The man who stopped the desert“. Since then, I always had hope that I will be able to build a food forest. It was only after I looked at that photo above that I realize how much of a progress I have made.
After arriving home form Cape Town for a short break in 2014, I decided it was time I started my dream of building a food forest. You must understand that the only knowledge I really have on farming is that I had read on google and YouTube. I invited a friend to help with the fence construction and we set off to start planting trees.
At that time I was a student so I only bought a few trees as the budget was limited. I bought a few guavas, wild berries as well as pawpaw.
Photo:Day 1 of planting in 2014.
The land was barren so the few trees that I planted brought so much light. I would sit and watch the leave survive the hot air of Northern Namibia and eventually I figured out if I do not set up the fence correctly, the plants will be eaten up by my mum’s goat. That is when I came up with the idea of collecting old bottles and stacking them up along the fence so that the goats will not dig in my fence.
Photo: After a hot day of gathering old bottles from the nearby shebeens in the village.
To try and make the food forest a success, I tried to incorporate the concept of conservation agriculture and I made a second camp to try and rehabilitate the land. As the land has been overused for soo many years without a break, I stacked it up with old crop residue and planted sunflower for the first year. Over time, I have allowed the indigenous plant to sprout on the land with the hope that they will yield something better.
The man who stopped the desert is a story of Yocouba Sowadogo. He has inspired me so much with his determination that I made a vow to myself that despite our land in Omaalala village being sandy and shallow, I will try and work with it. The progress has been slow but it surely coming along.
Have you been complaining why you cannot farm in your area? Every land was once fertile, however due to constant work on it plus the nature, it has gotten to the state where it is now. Whose responsibility is it to change it?
Photo: I took a selfie next to a giant sunflower last growing season. Sunflowers now naturally sprout on my land due to seed deposits that are left over from the previous seaoson.
Stay tuned for an update on the progress I have made to the food forest. In the mean time, watch the story of the man who has reversed the desert on youtube, I promise its worth your time.