Breadline Africa funded the establishment of a School Food Forest at No-Ofisi School and for the past month Dale Millard, our permaculture genius has being working hand in hand with a group of young men from the village making this forest a reality.

The new school’s design is a horse-shoe shape with the Food Forest in the middle. The land slopes down to the west so Dale began by building some giant rock wall terraces.

Terraces being built with rocks

Terraces being built with rocks

These terraces are really huge: there are 3 lines of terraces each about 50m long. Once these were built a series of swales were dug which zigzag like a stream at the foot of the terraces ensuring both that the terraces don’t get water-logged while at the same time ensuring higher saturation of soil near where the fruit trees will be planted. With the support of Food and Trees for Africa as well as SANZAF we have been able to get over 300 fruit trees to be planted in the Food Forest!

Once the terraces were complete, grass was planted on top of them. These grassy tops of the terraces will become the future walkways of the Food Forest.

Terrace walls topped with grass and swales beneath

Terrace walls topped with grass with swales in progress beneath

The biggest job has been to fill in the terraced areas with beautiful fertile black earth which will result in three level terraced beds… a bit like the stepped terraces seen in Asia. This has taken weeks of hard work loading and unloading countless loads of earth on and off the pickup truck. Simultaneously a second team has been digging the holes and burying the poles for the fence that will protect our forest from our marauding goats! These two big jobs are almost done – as can be seen below – which means that within a week or so, the best bit can begin: planting hundreds of fruit trees! The tree and veggie planting process will be done in conjunction with a permaculture training course for anyone from the village who wants to learn about permaculture techniques.

Terraces almost full of earth and fence poles being planted

Terraces almost full of earth and fence poles being planted (on a rainy day)