The Food For Life project works according to a number of basic principles. These relate to the participants, the (knowledge of the) organic farming method and the financing of the project, which will ultimately function completely independently.
We work in groups of 7 participants who together manually work an area of 4,900 m2. Each field provides enough food for an entire family. If it turns out that a participant is not motivated to commit, he will be removed from the system. About 2,000 participants have participated for a number of years and know our system very well, or they have copied it and started using it independently in their own country.
The implementation is extremely simple. We tie in with what people already know and can do. We take into account the strongly changing local customs and culture. After the planting system and fertilization system has been explained, we teach the participants how to make enriched compost themselves. In the beginning, fertilizer is used to bridge the period in which the enriched compost is not yet working properly. That period lasts three years.
Enriched compost can be made in a very simple way from greenery, manure and water. In our project, we get the water for the growth of plants from the daily dew. We do not use land fertilizers with the mentioned nutrients, but plant fertilizers. You could call it potted plants. The enriched compost acts like a sponge that absorbs the dew.
Malawi has a subtropical climate. In the summer months there is a lot of green available that can be used to make enriched compost. As the project has grown, there has been a greater need for green basic material. We found this by using the remains of tobacco plants. This appears to work very well. In areas where no tobacco is grown, the plant residues are brought in from other areas. Manure is not available everywhere. This is also supplied from other areas where necessary. Water – in the form of dew – is everywhere. To prevent the sun from evaporating the dew water, the plants are placed quite close together. As a result, there is always a good harvest, even when there is insufficient rain.
We work with small cells to minimize the chance of failure from the inside or the outside. Participating groups can be found all over Malawi, from the far north to the far south. The distance between the extremes is 1,000 kilometers. You can find FFF projects in almost all districts. These are spread over more than 100 villages.
The financing of the project currently comes from the proceeds of donations and foundations, the showroom and the return of the harvested proceeds.