THE HISTORY OF THE
VICTORY GARDEN CAMPAIGN
HELPING FIGHT THE FOOD CRISIS IN MALAWI
March 2017: Congratulations to Khombe village for surpassing 75% of families having gardens in less than 8 months!
In Malawi, villagers rely on a once-a-year maize (corn) harvest — a non-native crop — to feed themselves through the year. With frequent floods and droughts, families often cannot grow enough food to feed themselves. In 2016-17, Malawi faced its worst food crisis since 1985 as its maize harvest registered a 42% decline, and a state of emergency was declared because half the nation’s population needed food assistance.
One typical farmer, Kalekeni Chiundo, said his April 2016 maize harvest amounted to 1 oxcart, or about $34. But his expenses for seed, fertilizer, transport, bags and other items totaled $115 — a net loss of $81. In debt and with scant food supplies, Mr. Chiundo didn't know how he'd feed his family.
THE LAUNCH OF THE CAMPAIGN
F2F's Victory Garden Campaign provides long-term relief to Malawian farmers like Mr. Chiundo by teaching them to bring food-growing into the villages and next to their homes. As villagers transform the barren earth by their houses into small, lush gardens that continuously produce food, families begin winning their own war against hunger and extreme poverty.
Built on several years of pilot projects, F2F launched the Campaign in July 2016. Kicking off with three weeks of community-led events in three tribal districts near Lilongwe, activities included garden demonstrations, youth sporting events, song and drama events, and home garden workshops.
HOW IT WORKS
Working closely with the tribal chief leadership structure, the Campaign uses peer-to-peer training to put new farming knowledge into the communities. In short, F2F picks the most motivated villagers and trains them to be Victory Garden facilitators.
As of October 2017, over 120 Facilitators have continued conducting scores of workshops in villages in 7 tribal districts that have taught thousands of families how to create and maintain home victory gardens.
After receiving their training, facilitators then conduct 1-day VILLAGER WORKSHOPS to teach groups of 25-30 villagers about home Victory Gardens. Participants must create at least one garden on the day of their workshop.
Facilitators conduct VILLAGER WORKSHOPS every month, and encourage and inspire people to reach out to relatives, neighbors, and friends to start their own gardens, generating a collective sense of inspiration and motivation as villages across Malawi learn that they can grow enough food to eat. The goal of the Campaign is to create enough Victory Gardens to benefit over 150,000 villagers by the beginning of 2019.
EXPANSION & COLLABORATION
The Face-to-Face Project, in collaboration with the EKARI Foundation, is thrilled to announce we have expanded our Victory Garden Campaign in the Phalombe District of southern Malawi. We kicked off our victory garden workshops in November 2017 with the aim of creating 15,000 home victory gardens that produce food for 50,000 people within 2 years.
As of December 2017, the total number of gardens in Phalombe is now 598.
THE HISTORY OF VICTORY AND HOME GARDENS
Victory Garden Campaigns during World War I and II rallied American and British citizens to grow their own food at home. In 1943, 20 million gardens produced 40% of all vegetables grown that year in the U.S., enabling more resources for the war and galvanizing a whole nation behind a common cause. More recently, the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization has facilitated home garden projects in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Niger, Somalia, Lesotho and Algeria.