Africa

143 Chiefs Want Victory Gardens

Above: Group Village Headman of Kazitenge Village —
Addressing Crowd at F2F Victory Garden Event

Kazitenge Village Chiefs Dancing at F2F Event

Overlooked by government and large charities, tribal chiefs are traditional leaders in the everyday lives of villagers. Chiefs command respect and support, and that’s why F2F works closely with them.
 
In the past 2 weeks, 143 chiefs came to F2F victory garden events. They all know F2F doesn’t provide handouts or material goods, and they understand that we require them to create victory gardens at their own homes.
 
The head chief of Kazitenge village, in a red coat above, celebrates with fellow chiefs because most of his residents have victory gardens. He tells other chiefs that his people are growing their own food, without spending money. He explains that villagers are healthier, children go to school, and crime has gone down.
 
Chief Kazitenge urges other chiefs to follow his lead. In 5 districts in Malawi, that’s exactly what chiefs are doing.
 
Demand for victory gardens is sky high. And F2F believes the sky’s the limit.

Saukani Does the Math

Above: Saukani Chatha and one of his daughters in his dry maize field.

Like millions of African subsistence farmers, Saukani Chatha depends on growing maize in the short rainy season to feed his family through the year.
 
This year was difficult. Saukani’s small plot yielded 3 bags of maize, worth $24. His expenses — seeds, sacks, milling — was $16. His own labor isn’t part of the calculations. 
 
Three months later, no one is surprised that Saukani has no maize to eat. That’s because this is the reality, year after year, of most villagers. Maize as a cash crop has never worked, and it’s clear it never will. The chemical fertilizer and pesticides alone, which burn the soil, make it harder to grow maize with each passing year. 
 
This year, Saukani learned to create a F2F victory garden next to his house. Within weeks, he was harvesting food. In a couple months, Saukani realized he could feed his family of 5 and earn $1.25 a week selling surplus vegetables. 
 
$8 from his maize cash crop. Or $1.25 x 52 weeks from his victory garden.
 
You can do the math.

Honor Your Roots, Eat Your Vegetables

Above: Traditional Tchope Dance & Victory Garden Vegetables
at F2F's Mtambalika Event in Phalombe

Malawians believe that maize = Africa = life. 
 
But maize came from the Americas and doesn’t grow well in Malawi’s dry climate. That’s why F2F’s victory gardens promote faster, more easily grown leafy greens and grains that are indigenous to Malawi. 
 
These plants like Malawi’s climate, and they’re high in nutrition. Plus, they taste great too!
 
Because many villagers have forgotten how to eat these plants, we re-introduce them in events that feature traditional dust-raising, crowd-thrilling dancing.  
 
Honor your heritage, stomp your feet, and eat your vegetables.