Permaculture 101

Earth care, people care, faire share. Here at Cafe UBUNTU and UBUNTU Farm, we believe and practice many of the principles of Permaculture and organic agriculture. It was our great privilege to receive a Permaculture Design Certification from Food, Water, Shelter in Arusha last year, and since then, we have been implementing a number of new and exciting techniques on the land.

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Being a dry area, we've built a number of "swales" or mounds and ditches that are used to help maximize water distribution when it rains. These swales help to slow the flow of rainwater and sink it into the ground, as opposed to letting it simply run off, taking lots of nutrient rich top-soil with it. We have strategically places these swales all over the land, particularly near our areas of production so that we can utilize nature itself to provide us with bountiful produce for the cafe!

Another Permaculture installation is our fruit orchard, where we have planted oranges, avocados, mangoes, tree tomatoes and papaya (thanks to our fabulous Whole Foods volunteer team!). By diversifying the types of trees, we are helping to decrease the chances of pests; for one bug's treasure is another bugs trash....ok, don't think that's how the saying goes. But ultimately, confusion is key! And we get yummy fruit out of it all!

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One of the simplest, and most effective means of managing the land and crops is through biodiversity. This means planting more than one type of crop and also consists of "companion planting". Certain types of plants, when grown together, compliment each other well. For instance, marigolds and tomatoes. These flowers help to repel insects that might otherwise feed on the tomatoes, and instead help us to grow tasty, undisturbed tomatoes to eat!

The theory is relatively simple....and for us, the results are amazing!