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‘My Backyard Farm Helps Me Beat Stress, Fight Malnutrition’

by Joshua Kato
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On the entrance through her gate, you are welcomed by a row of cabbages on the right and a collection of herbal plants on the left.

A quick glimpse around the compound shows you rows of tomatoes supported by short poles, gooseberries, cabbages, sukumawiiki and spinach. On the upper area are rows of potatoes, cassava plants, matooke and chicken house. 

Rather than have beautiful flowers all around her compound, Anne Ainomugisha decided to have beautiful vegetables. The home, located in Kitara, Katabi sub-county, Entebbe not far away from Kisubi Seminary sits on about 20 decimals.

Part of this is occupied by the family house, while the other carries almost every vegetable and medicinal herb you can think about.  Ainomugisha calls the herbal medicinal area the ‘Green Pharmacy’.

The vegetables are planted in different ways, including food towers, food boxes, terraces and planting bags. The herbs include parsley, rosemary, lavender, chemonile tea, stevia and spear mint.   

“I got the ideawhen I started staying home during the COVID-19 lockdown. I had this compound in front of me, while I used to spend money on basic vegetables and herbs,” she says.

Ainomugisha and her daughter in the backyard farm. (Filed by Joshua Kato)

Although it was not so fertile because the upper part is covered by rocks, she slowly started fertilising it using compost, homemade manure.  Initially, she and her children were growing vegetables for home consumption, however, they started producing a surplus that they decided to sell off. Today, neighbours walk into her compound for fresh tomatoes.

“This urban farm is also a stress reliever. There is no way you can suffer from depression when you have all these plants waiting for you,” Ainomugisha says.

All her children are involved in managing the farm. With ages between 4-18 years, one of them is the farm engineer, the other is the irrigation engineer, a livestock specialist and even a media manager.

“Managing the farm is very interesting because we are learning new tasks and it keeps us busy too,” Elisha Talemwa says.

Ainomugisha believes that responsibility must start at home.

“It has helped me grow them into appreciating responsibility and leadership,” she says.

But the farm is not only helping her groom her children, but also the neighborhood women. Ainomugisha is the chairperson of ‘Women of Hope’ a local women’s group.

“I am using this farm as a training ground for the ladies that I lead. I encourage them to do the same at their homes because this is a cheaper way of reducing domestic expenses, but also earn something,” she says.  Her husband, Richard Mugisha, says they plan to turn the urban farm into a ‘self-contained’ agro-tourism centre.

A section of the backyard farm

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