Welcome to our home! Our office is located just thirty minutes outside of Kigali on a farm of 1.56 hectares. Our farm serves four main purposes: to increase our self-sufficiency and sustainability through food production and seed-saving, to start seedlings which we distribute to the families we serve, to experiment with new agricultural techniques to better support our families’ gardens, and to demonstrate to our partner organizations the methodology we employ.

If you walk out the office’s back door, you’ll pass a kitchen on your left and arrive at our outdoor kitchen where each day, we cook lunch using food from our farm. We provide lunch to all hands working in the office and on the farm and to staffers’ children. Communal lunch grown and cooked on our farm allows us to be more self-sufficient, to reduce our operational costs, and to lead by example in producing nutritious, balanced meals for our staff to recreate in their own homes. Many of our farm workers only eat one solid meal each day, so we make sure lunch is nutritious and filling!

Further to your left are our demonstration and experimentation gardens. The first garden you will pass is an example of the home garden model we implement with families. This plot is approximately 70 square yards, the average size of our families’ own gardens. The vegetables we grow in home gardens are highly nutritious and are often sold for income generation. Other plants we grow act as organic pesticides and fertilizers. Some plants you might find in our gardens are maize, soya, green beans, cabbage, onions, carrots, and beets.

Behind our home garden are our experimental gardens, which are currently home to crops planted without compost. Most of our families in their first growing season do not have access to good compost, so it is important for us to measure approximately the yield of non-composted plants. These gardens abut our demonstration kitchen gardens—raised, circular mounds that maximize planting space on a given circumference—and our fruit tree nurseries, where we grow tree seedlings to distribute in our home garden package.

If you walk a bit down the farm’s main path, you will arrive at our nursery. Here we grow seedlings to distribute to families and to transplant for food production around the farm. Many of our families have poor soil quality and difficulty accessing water outside of the rainy season, so we provide seedlings to increase yield and to minimize the need for seed replacements.

Farther down the path are our cassava and banana fields. We intercrop beans with cassava and soya with bananas to increase soil health and total yield. (Beans and soya fix nitrogen, which cassava and bananas require for growth.) The continuous planting practices in Rwanda (a function of land scarcity) exhaust the soil, which has no time to lie fallow, so it is crucial that farming practices here address soil health.

At the end of the path are our bean-soya-maize fields, which demonstrate proper crop rotation. Beans and soya follow a season of maize to replace the soil’s nitrogen, and vegetables follow beans and soya to introduce biodiversity into the fields. Crop rotation helps soil retain nutrients, attracts a diversity of microorganisms, and prevents pest infestation.

The last stop on our tour is our bungalow, where we hold all staff meetings and eat communal lunches. Here, we like to explain that we are an entirely organic operation – using no commercial fertilizers – a practice that allows us to more closely mimic the growing circumstances of our families. In place of fertilizers, we rely on natural resources and agroforestry to ensure soil health and maintain high yields. We intentionally plant local weeds that fix nitrogen as further methods of increasing soil and plant health. We also carefully craft our own compost, which boosts soil health enormously.

Thank you so much for joining us on a tour of our farm! Visit again soon to learn about our composting toilet and water catchment research!