CHUB has generously allotted farmland on which to grow food for the patients. KU cultivates almost 4 hectares (about 10 acres) of hospital land for the patient-feeding program, to generate income, and as demonstration gardens for training beneficiaries. Around 50% of the food provided to patients are from our own organic crops, with the goal to increase the proportion to 75% as more funds and opportunities become available.
KU has planted moringa and fruit trees, e.g., avocados, papayas, and tree tomatoes, as well as established a large shelter to grow oyster mushrooms, to supplement the vitamins, minerals, and protein of current grain and vegetable crops.
We are beginning to implement Bio-intensive farming methods that utilize less growing space and no chemical inputs to grow more crops. This set of principles and its outcomes are highly compatible with the context of Rwanda, where a large majority of the population are farmers; the family land sizes are shrinking with every generation; the soil is heavy clay and needs farm-sourced amendments; water for irrigation is scarce in the dry season, and farmers rely heavily on predictable rainfall patterns. Dependence on previously very predictable wet and dry seasons that have become quite erratic in the recent years have left families vulnerable to poverty and malnutrition. In implementing and teaching Bio-intensive farming methods to our beneficiaries and others in the community, we hope to boost the farmers’ resilience to climate changes and their families’ resilience to illness.