As local land becomes less and less able to support crops because of unsustainable farming practices, lack of rain, and land erosion the people of Mahadaga are farming fields much further away from their compounds than is desirable. This creates a need for local gardens for women who have responsibilities at home to allow them to also, provide food for their families.
ODD recently was offered a plot of land by some locals. Currently ODD is going through all the necessary steps in paying the land taxes and has clarified with the previous owners the land boundaries. New fencing has been installed around the 2.8 hectar plot. The fencing not only clarifies land boundaries, but more importantly protects the crops from grazing animals. This first year, Cassava also called Manioc (similar to a potato but long and cylindrical) is being planted. Cassava takes about thirteen months to mature and is harvested during the next sowing season. Because Cassava is a deeper root, ODD is planting a white bean over the top of the Cassava. These beans have a good leaf cover that spreads over the surface of the ground, providing shading and reducing the moisture loss of the soil. The beans also are nitrogen enriching to provide more fertile soil for the coming years.
In the future, the purpose of this land is to be divided up into small 25 by 25 meter garden plots for local women who do not have land to garden nearby their homes, allowing them opportunities to better provide for their families. Each garden will have its own water spigot, through branch lines from the Village Water System. There will also be a small gardening outpost that will sell tools and farming supplies including agricultural inputs (Bokashi, compost, etc.) and a farmers market where the produce can be sold. The vision is that this land would be a gardening complex for the surrounding community - providing local space for those with limited nearby access to land, sharing new techniques and resources, and revealing the love of God through caring for our neighbors.