by Kofo Adeleke (ELP 2006)
DSC00661_2.jpgA low income urban community in Lagos, Nigeria has started to embrace urban horticulture by growing their own vegetables in pots and buckets. This is one of the activities which has stemmed from the Community Conservation and Development Initiatives (CCDI) ‘Mobilising Local Governments for Climate Action’ project, organised in collaboration with Heinrich Böll Stiftung. The main objective is to create awareness, build capacity and develop common participatory positions on climate change within local governments and their communities. Climate change will affect a number of economic sectors, including agriculture, and encouragement of horticultural activities in urban areas can be a strategy for future food security.
DSC00484-300x225_2.jpgFourteen households have for the past six months been involved in this climate change awareness and adaptation activity that encourages and highlights the opportunities in growing vegetables in homes where space is extremely limited. Both female and male participants, of different age ranges, planted pepper and okra in pots and buckets. Funds were made available for the purchase of seeds, topsoil and gardening pots and the activity was supported by the community head and local roadside horticulturalists whom were on hand to teach the participants how to plant the vegetable seeds in the pots.
An initial visual presentation was made for the participants who volunteered to show them how other communities around the world are able to grow vegetables and herbs in different types of urban environments where space is limited. CCDI has made a number of inspection visits to monitor theDSC01117-300x225_2.jpg project and provide guidance to the participants and as momentum has grown, more volunteers have joined and started to add their own broken buckets for planting use.
For some of the children, it was the very first time they had seen okra and pepper plants. A few of the vegetables in the pots were damaged and the main culprits were roaming chickens and inquisitive children; advice was then given on how to avoid this problem. The overall response has been very heartening and with further support and encouragement, the project has the potential to be scaled up considerably.