“Teach them to create bounty and beauty from the soil and they will thrive.”
The Garden for Ghana project combines ecological restoration, erosion control, organic farming methods, environmental education, and reintroduction of indigenous edible and medicinal plants of the coastal savannah of Ghana. By partnering with the University of Cape Coast we will research such topics as “Agronomic potential, nutritional and medicinal values, and farmer’s perceptions of indigenous vegetables in the coastal savannah ecological zones in Ghana”.
Ultimately the Garden for Ghana project will assist the people in Yamoransa in attaining a more sustainable life and using the experiences gained to “pay it forward” and enable other areas of Ghana to benefit with similar projects.
This level of success could not have been achieved without these community partnerships.
- The people of Yamoransa, their leaders, chiefs and elected officials, including their Village Council, religious leaders, public servants,teachers, business people, students, families
- Yale Alumni Service Corps, its leadership, including Mark Dollhopf and Kathy Edershein, its membership, affiliates, and its available resources for this project.The Yale partnership was initiated in 2012.
- American Field Service in Ghana under the leadership of Mr. Kwame Otcher , its membership, students and volunteers, its affiliates and its available resources for this project.
- The Universities of Ghana, in particular, U.C.C. (Cape Coast University), and Professor Kofi Awusabo-Asare and his leadership as a local Ghanaian professor, who has demonstrated his skills and passion for improving the lives and environment for the Yamoransa people. The professors and students have been working in the community since 2010 and have helped prepare the strategy that could now be built upon
- The California Native Garden Foundation, its members, partners and the internship programs at its affiliated universities in California,including University of California at Davis; San Jose State University; Santa Clara University; University of California, Berkeley extension; Stanford University; Cal Poly Pomona and several community colleges.
- The community of Los Gatos, California, Los Gatos High School and students in AP Environmental Science Class, including Brooke Ahmed, project leader.
Yamoransa is a town of about 4,700 people, situated in the coastal hills east of the town and University of Cape Coast, along the road to the capital, Accra. The town has no running water, nor does it have permanent medical facilities. Yamoransa has a primary school and a middle school, both of which lack athletic facilities. The town is well known for producing and selling kenkey, a type of dumpling which is a staple of Ghanaian cuisine. There are numerous other small service businesses in the town; bakers, fruit vendors and shopkeepers. Most of the businesses are female-run.
Currently the residents of Yamoransa depend on charcoal and firewood for cooking and heating. This practice, along with slash-and-burn agriculture, has resulted in deforestation of the surrounding area, leading to high levels of erosion throughout the village. Due to the combination of deforestation and erosion, many native tree species have become scarce or endangered. These are some of the many issues/problems that can be improved and alleviated with the implementation of slightly altered processes and practices.
The model garden currently being developed as an initial pilot is known as “Healthy and Beautiful YamoraYamoransa.
The situation in Yamoransa before the project
To remove these issues the garden project has several sustainable components, including :
- Reforestation of endangered and threatened native plants of the coastal savannah ecosystem,
- Erosion control
- Utilizing native plants for the restoration,
- Reintroduction of indigenous edible and medicinal plants of the coastal savanna,
- Sustainable agricultural practices,
- Improved food security
- Enhanced nutrition,
- Adopting composting as a renewable energy and soil-building program.
This long term sustainable garden project also includes the implementation of an environmental education program in the schools in and around Yamoransa.
The Future for Yamoransa
Ghana Native plants and Trees
These slides are extracted from a presentation prepared by Brooke Ahmend. The presentation is available on request
August 2013 – Initial Visit and discovery
CNGF’s President and Founder, Alrie Middlebrook, visited Yamoransa as a member of YASC to teach school children aspects of Ghanaian ecology, with emphasis on the coastal savannah plant community. In the same visit she also conducted surveys that documented the food insecurity and insufficient daily nutrition of the village children. After spending time in Yamoransa, Alrie realized that the people of Yamoransa could benefit greatly from the same strategic garden model and educational program that the CNGF has been designing and implementing in over 50 schools in California since 2006. The first phase involved the selection of the first of 13 garden sites requested by different communities in the town and the selection of a pilot garden.
May 2014 Visit – Starting the work
In May 2014, the YASC and Alrie again visited Yamoransa and began the first Pilot Garden Project. The first phase of the pilot garden involved the selection of the first of 13 garden sites requested by different communities in the town. During this work period many tasks were undertaken. Initial tools and equipment were purchased, the pilot garden was started and the first sections of fencing complete, compost materials collected and composting started, assistance given to the teachers around these topics. The level of success could not have been achieved without the community partnerships in existence
What is happening now
We have consolidated information from multiple places into one plan (link below) and one contact list.
Currently under way in Ghana:
- Prioritization of the next 12 sites and measurement of the top 3
- Fencing of the pilot garden. Alrie had marked the boundary in May
- Propagation of the seeds and cuttings left by Alrie on May visit
- The establishment of soil erosion control
- The building of section compost bins
- Initial delivery of free compost (part of a new regular delivery)
- The Planting of fast-growing non-invasive native trees for firewood
- Establishing compost collection incentives and competitions to increase awareness and encourage the cultural change
Currently under way in the US:
- Completing and submitting grants
- Planning November 2014 visit
- Planning and holding sponsored event
If you are interested in giving a donation or in volunteering please contact us
Further links – Click on the appropriate photo