Grow food cheaply by the roadside

    | April 7, 2014

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    This week’s story from Rwanda profiles women who are creating large backyard vegetable gardens to feed their families and make money from the surplus.

    But what if you live in a city and don’t have any land? How can you grow food? All around you there are only houses and buildings, roads and traffic.

    But take another look at those roads. Is there land beside them? Often there is. And often nobody is using it. Why not grow food beside a road? You can earn money and feed your family better by farming roadsides and public rights-of-way.

    Many people who live in cities across the world grow food or graze animals on strips of land beside roads or canals. They also use public utility rights-of-way such as the land around a power line or railway tracks. This kind of urban agriculture is called roadside or right-of-way farming.

    In Nairobi, Kenya, many of the roads between the centre and the outskirts of the city have crops along their edges. If you were to drive or walk along these roads, you would also see cattle grazing.

    Our script of the week gives some instructions on growing crops on the roadside and rights-of-way. It includes sections on how to protect crops from theft, how to get water for your roadside or right-of-way crops, and how to protect your crops from airborne lead.