SANGO Diaries Chapter 23. Soils, where food begins

World Soil Day

December 5th is World Soil Day, a global event to raise awareness of how critical rich, healthy soil is for raising enough food to feed an ever-increasing global population.

This year’s theme, “Soils, where food begins,” could not be more timely for the farmers of SANGO-Kenya.

We are anticipating the beginning of the 2023 season and beginning to get the farmers ready for the long rains, which will begin in February. Land preparation has to begin in January — next month! And one essential step in land preparation is having compost to mix with the soil.

Composting increases sustainability

SANGO-Kenya promotes sustainable agriculture and our farmers are committed to using organic fertilizer for its many benefits — better for the soil, more abundant crops — and it doesn’t cost them anything. They can use materials from their farms.

It is essential to make the compost properly — use the right materials, make it properly, watch it to ensure it doesn’t get too hot or too wet. While the farmers have been taught how to compost previously, we thought it was important enough to give the “old” farmers additional training — and to train the new farmers who will join the program for the first time in 2023. As the compost must be prepared three months prior to preparing the land, we are doing the training now.

This year, for the first time, the Lead Farmers led the training for making compost. During the training, they not only showed the farmers the process, they also taught the importance of each material that goes into the compost — nitrogen from cow dung and carbon from plant materials, for example. So the farmers not only learn the process, they also understand why.

Even though the “old” farmers had been taught before, they all said they learned something new! And the new farmers were so excited to learn about it. While many people know of the benefits of compost, few know how. In a meeting with the village chiefs last week, several of them asked to join our training because they wanted to know how to make compost!

There is more to soil health than compost, but it is fundamental to ensuring healthy soil and crops as well as increased yields. And soil is where food begins.


SANGO-Kenya farmers, Winnie, Peter, Maurice, Constance, and Kit

Your generosity has made all of SANGO-Kenya’s programs possible. Your tax-deductible donation today will help SANGO-Kenya continue to recruit, train, and support more farmers so they can improve their nutrition, food, and economic security for themselves and their families. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution. Thank you.

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