Stephanie Enloe sits down to interview Dr. Jahi Chappel, Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Agroecology, Water, and Resilience at the University of Coventry, and Professor Rachel Bezner Kerr, a long-standing SFHC research collaborator. The interview includes a… Read More
Building the SFHC Farmer Research and Training Center
As we’ve announced on our projects page, SFHC is currently taking an important step to expand its work in Malawi–and connect with students, researchers, and collaborators around the world.
The SFHC Farmer Research and Training Center, when complete, will serve as the hub for all SFHC activities. Large, open rooms stand ready to seat farmers attending training events. Space is set aside for a soon-to-be constructed kitchen for recipe testing, and more empty rooms will one day serve as offices, seed storage, and more. SFHC also plans to build dormitories for visitors working with SFHC.
Visiting the center today, you’re likely to meet Burton Gama and Chance Msangu, pictured to the left in front of the center. Burton and Chance, along with the rest of SFHC’s community promotors, have played a critical role in both the center’s physical construction and the oversight of the example gardens.
The gardens demonstrate a great diversity of crops, trees and agroecological techniques. At one end of the property, you’ll find a long row of banana tree collection pits; at the other, the vegetable nursery. Beside the nursery sits the medicinal herb garden and the flower gardens. In the far corner, an excavated pit waits to be filled with water and fish. A huge field of pigeonpea stands tall in its third year. Behind it, many other legume varieties are grown, contributing to the center’s seed bank.
Burton Gama holds a bag of legume seeds from the seed bank.
The center’s construction thus far has been made possible through funding from the Government of Canada. However, more funding will be necessary to complete the building. Plumbing, electricity, and other carpentry work will need to be finished, and the cost of training farmers is still outstanding. We’ve laid out all our construction goals here, as well as information about how far a dollar will go toward completing construction.