Kibera Public Space
Project 05 (KPSP 05)
The implementation of the urban agriculture pilot project at KPSP05 has been a fulfillment of a desire that the KAGO group had wanted at KPSP05’s inception. The pilot project had a research component and a practical component and began in February 2014. The pilot project explores the potential of urban agriculture in informal settlements such as Kibera, in these spaces urban agriculture is inhibited by the challenges and problems within such contexts. Challenges such as lack of space, lack of arable land and high population densities have not allowed urban agriculture to flourish as a pre-eminent means of providing food to the urban poor. The main motivation of the project has been to investigate what the most feasible form(s) of urban agriculture could be for communities in the Kibera.
The research component of the project was designed to help local residents investigate different farming methods and deduce which methods would be most appropriate for the context and the community group. It involved investigating the range of farming methods used to cultivate crops in Kibera, understanding the local food market in Kibera (specifically in the Gatwekera village), whilst exploring other potential markets (schools with feeding programs) for the community partner to tap into and generate income. The research also involved investigating various approaches to growing food in the Nairobi Metropolitan Region that could be imported into the informal settlement to address the challenges that constrict urban agriculture in the area. The study culminated in a small pilot project that was designed to provide further guidance towards the development of a proposal for a complete, community-scale agricultural project with KDI’s community partner, KAGO.
The pilot project was built in 2015 after the results from the research were assessed. The community (who was involved in data collection) was able to assess the outcomes and decide which farming methods they wanted to explore and learn about in the pilot project. The pilot project comprises of a greenhouse and a shade-net structure and over the course of the year the KAGO agriculture committee has grown different crops within the two structures using sack gardens, hydroponic growing troughs, hanging gardens, and raised moist beds. These methods of farming maximize the amount of space that the group has to farm and allow the group to grow their crops outside of polluted environments and soil. The agriculture committee is currently focusing on growing crops using soil-based farming methods and developing organizational structures and financial systems that will allow them to operate the pilot project more effectively as an agro-business.