SFHC Farmer Research and Training Center and Demonstration Farm

View of the FRTC from the road

Since their opening in 2017 through funding from the Government of Canada, the Center and Demonstration Farm have served as the base of all SFHC activities.

The Farmer Research and Training Center provides a central space from which to facilitate farmer-to-farmer exchange, training and experimentation. Conceived over several years, inspired by visits to similar centres and cooperatives in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and India, this unique space includes classrooms, offices, a community space for meetings of the General Assembly, a dining hall and kitchen for recipe testing and meal preparation. Most recently, we are delighted to have received funding from the Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development to expand the FRTC.

FRT celebrating the opening of the Centre

Rodgers Msachi presenting to the SFHC General Assembly in December 2019

Esther Maona, member of SFHC, who is explaining the fruit trees and herbs that have been planted.
Esther Maona, member of SFHC, tours the young herb garden and orchard just after planting in 2016.

 

Our next project is to construct dormitories so that visiting farmers can stay and take part in SFHC activities onsite, and also facilitate visits from collaborating researchers and students. The dormitories will be wired with solar electricity. As of January 2021, we are still about $800 USD short of our fundraising goal in order to wire the dormitories with electricity, and we would welcome your support!
Read about our funding goals here.

Demonstration Farm

The Demonstration Farm is designed to demonstrate agroecological farming methods, to test seed varieties, and to serve as a resource for farmer training. It includes:

  • Dryland cropping system with demo plots (including cereals, drought-tolerant grains, tubers and legumes, cover crops)
  • Vegetable Growing Area with demo plots including legumes, leafy greens, fruits, herbs, roots and tubers.
  • Herb and Medicinal Growing Area
  • Orchard including orange, avocado, lemon, lime, banana and papaya trees, with collection pits (shown below) that serve as a water supply for banana trees.
  • Woods for shade and agroforestry
  • Rainwater harvesting tank, holding up to 36, 000 litres of water
  • Livestock enclosure
  • Fish pond
  • Wind barrier around the fields
  • Beehives
Intercropping test plots at the Demonstration Farm
Part of the dryland cropping system
Papayas in the fruit orchard
Legume testing in the vegetable section

2 Comments on “SFHC Farmer Research and Training Center and Demonstration Farm

  1. This is something to know more especially us in Africa.I would love this kind of information and practical farming can be extended to our countries. And volunteerizm can be encouraged

  2. What contact or cooperation have you had with the established permaculture training centers in Malawi: Never Ending Food, Kusamala Institute and Permaculture Paradise Institute? These are already well developed and have a large fund of information relevant to lifting subsistence farmers out of the ills of the AGRA model: overcoming malnutrition and thus preventing stunting, wasting, poverty and degradation of the soil. They withstand drought (even the huge one in 2015-16) and they are profitable. Building networks of like-minded orgs is crucial. The people need to know what other individuals and villages are doing. So priority ought to be given to connections. The cause needs to be common.

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