The next visit to Yamoransa is planned for August 2016 – Volunteer by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Gardens for Ghana: Yamoransa – A transformation in progress
“Teach them to create bounty and beauty from the soil and they will thrive.” (Alrie Middlebrook)
The Garden for Ghana project is bringing a more sustainable life to the village of Yamoransa with the introduction of native gardens that will provide crops for eating and for medicine.
The project is based on a “garden model” that has been implemented and perfected over a number of years in California schools. The University of Cape Coast has refined and optimized the model to fulfill Ghana’s needs by adjusting for local conditions (e.g. soil management, nutritional and medicinal needs, crop management, ecology”). Yamoransa is the “initial” place in Africa for these gardens to be implemented with the goal that by sharing the experiences and benefits the model will be accepted and implemented in other areas. Click here to view the model
One reason for the project’s success is the commitment of local and global partners to work together to achieve the common goals. People from many different backgrounds are planning, digging, composting, planting, and teaching together to make a difference. Read more on partnerships
So why are people involved with this project? Where is Yamoransa? What are the problems? How are we tackling them?
Yamoransa was chosen because UCC (Cape Coast University), the top university in Ghana is 20 minutes away and Professor Kofi Awusabe Asare, head of the Population studies and public health department has been taking students there for community service projects since 2009. Yamaransa is a town of about 4,700 people, situated in the coastal hills east of the town and University of Cape Coast, and along the road to the capital, Accra. The town has no running water, nor does it have permanent medical facilities. It 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.
This is the situation before the project started :
The garden project has solutions to tackle each of these projects:
- Implementing erosion control – One of the biggest projects has been stabilizing hillsides and preventing further soil erosion.
- Planting of endangered and threatened native plants of this region (the coastal savannah).
- The introducing of sustainable agricultural practices.
- Improved food security.
- Enhancing nutrition by produce from the gardens and education.
- Incorporating composting into the daily life so it can be used as a renewable energy and incorporated into the soil-building program.
- Working with local primary schools to write lesson plans which give the children a knowledge of their local natural environment (e.g. trees, plants, animals and weather) and an understanding of of how sustainability effects the environment and them.
- Working with local artists through the arts (books, music, and poems) to demonstrate and teach the value of environmental stewardship and nutritional values.
- Raising awareness on the need for for water recycling and establishing ways to capture rain water. Rain water from the roof of the ICT (Information, Communication and Technology Center) building will be captured for use in the village.
- The reintroduction of indigenous edible and medicinal plants of the coastal savanna.
Many of the native and “other edible plants” in this slide show will be used for planting in the gardens :
It is worth highlighting two of these plants :
The Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP). Thirty five percent of pre-school aged children in Ghana are severely deficient in vitamin A, which helps young children grow, enhances their resistance to disease, reduces mortality and supports normal development and good health. Women of childbearing age, food insecure and HIV/AIDS affected households are also at high risk of vitamin A deficiency (VAD). Sweet potatoes are grown in many areas of Ghana. OFSP provides the body with an extremely high amount of vitamin A. Just one small root (100-125 grams) of most OFSP varieties can supply the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A needed by children under five years of age. These will be planting in all gardens. For more information about OFSP reference the RAC (Reaching Agents of Change) document
The Synsepalum Dulcificum tree or the miracle fruit. When you eat the fruit, for about 60 minutes afterwards, any sour food that you eat, like lemons or dill pickles or grapefruit will taste sweet. The juice has a chemical called miraculin which contains a glycoprotein molecule with some trailing carbohydrate chains that is found in the flesh of the fruit. It binds to the taste buds on the tongue and makes sour foods taste sweet for a brief period of time. It it a very attractive tall shrub and native to West Africa. In her June 2015 visit Alrie bought 5 seedlings for the garden. This will be a great plant for the children and a good introduction to native plants.
Since Alrie’s departure progress has continued under the leadership of the Green club. Erosion has been reduced. All the native grass, sweet potatoes, fruit trees and other native trees planted are growing very well and there has been a harvest of sweet potatoes
For information on the overall project, additional information on past visits, details on the next visit, or for supplementary materials click on the appropriate photos below :