The garden is far more formal now, with a clipped boxwood parterre in a geometric pattern around a fountain. There’s a more recent photo here.
After we visited the demonstration small holding farm of Gako Organic Farming Training Centre (GOFTC), we continued down the road a short distance to its main campus.
The attractive facility includes a number of classrooms and an auditorium. A local church group was holding a service on the grounds while we were there, and we enjoyed their singing as we looked around.
and the above keyhole garden of cabbages. (Click any photo to enlarge it. To scroll through all the enlarged images, click on ‘Continue reading’ below and on any thumbnail in the gallery.)
Amaranth was growing in rows. In Rwanda, it is valued more as a leaf vegetable than a grain. I was surprised to see the Cleome around it (in the photo, but a little hard to see), but I learned from Managing Director Richard Munyerango that the leaves are edible after cooking.
The center teaches animal husbandry and keeps a number of dairy cows using the “zero grazing method,” which means fodder is brought to the penned animals (they do graze twice a week).
You may remember GOFTC’s pigs from my July 4 “Wordless Wednesday” post. This baby was a little more shy.
After we left the animals, we came to the compost shed. The still-cooking pile on the left was beautifully squared off. Richard told us good dimensions for a pile are 1.5 meters wide by 1.5 meters high (and 7 meters long, but this one was about 3-4 meters long).
The drip lines — needed when the plants were first set out — had been removed. But when they were in use, workers had filled the buckets by hand from a well below the field. Eventually, a pump system will be installed.
I thought I would end by sharing some of the text of GOFTC’s brochure, which is rather inspiring.
“Gako Organic Farming Training Centre is a Rwandan local NGO that trains farmers in sustainable agriculture for sustained livelihood.
We are a training and demonstration enterprise. The training is in sustainable agriculture using organic farming practices, which are environmentally friendly.
We emphasis the use of limited land (small plot technique), while improving yields, which are pollution free, hence safe and healthy to eat.
We do not encourage the application of artificial fertilizers and pesticides, but try to go back to nature, by taking care of our environment so that we may depend on it for our livelihood.
We embark on planning and design, while focusing our most attention on agro-forestry and the growing of fruits and vegetables, which are natural medicines.
Since inception, GOFTC has shared this information with hundreds, if not thousands, of farmers in Rwanda and the neighboring countries who come for training. . . .
[Our mission is] to empower the farming communities to improve their living standards through appropriate, affordable and productive organic farming practices that promote environmental conservation for a healthy, progressive and united people.”
You can read more about GOFTC in a January 2011 post by Jared in the blog Rwanda on the Wing.
You can contact GOFTC by writing to P.O. Box 3047, Kigali, Rwanda, or by e-mailing to email@example.com.