Small backyard vegetable garden turns into intensive production facility for Khomasdal charity
What started as a modest vegetable garden in the backyard of a Khomasdal home in Windhoek, is blossoming into a proper production facility based on aquaponics with the assistance of the German Embassy.
Francis and Ruan Louw started a charity, The Francis Free Life Charity Organization in 2006 which they ran from their home to help Khomasdal residents in areas of education, health, community development and welfare. As part of their charity work, they started a small vegetable growing project on their own property to test the feasibility of agronomic production in an urban setting. Their sterling results convinced them to expand the project’s scale so that a larger part of the community could benefit.
The German Embassy in Windhoek agreed that the project can be feasible on an expanded scale but the method of production had to shift to aquaponics, a combined system of aquaculture and hydroponics, so that a much bigger volume could be grown on the same land surface area. The embassy thus allocated financial support of N$485,000 to the charity to enable the vegetable project to get off the ground, so to speak.
This week the Louws signed the funding agreement with the in the embassy, Ellen Gölz. The funding comes from the embassy’s micro project fund and this project will run under the banner “Garden of Eden.” It will grow both vegetables and fish, as complementary components of the aquaponics system which will be housed in a large greenhouse.
“Garden of Eden” will contribute to mitigate an array of economic, social, psychological and environmental problems that plague the community, and intends to bring change in areas such as food production, community purpose and spirit, educational opportunities and youth and female employment. Further goals include providing work experience, training, and volunteering opportunities within a supportive and inclusive environment.
Francis Louw (left) in her lush garden in Windhoek’s Khomasdal suburb. She signed a funding agreement this week with Ellen Gölz, the Chargé d’Affaires in the German Embassy to elevate her small vegetable garden to an expanded aquaponics system in a large greenhouse.