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Welcome to our Winter newsletter

"If farming were to be organised like the stock market, a farmer would sell his farm in the morning when it was raining, only to buy it back in the afternoon when the sun came out." - John Maynard Keynes

Just as our the nights grow long here in the northern hemisphere and we are settling in for winter; our fellow gardeners in Sub Saharan Africa are now in summer and anticipating the long-awaited rains. With record temperatures of around 45C, many have not had rain since February or March. At the time of writing there was great relief as rains finally fell on Zimbabwe and South Africa. Planting field crops can now begin. So today, we are celebrating the rains, in solidarity with our fellow gardeners in Africa.

Our trainees, however, have not been waiting for the rains. GardenAfrica’s training programmes teach vital skills such as rainwater capture (pictured right)and storage, mulching, and composting to conserve soil moisture to give vegetable gardeners a fighting chance, even through the driest periods. While all around is burned and dry, this garden (top right) is producing for family and friends, while teaching others to do the same. This is the difference our work makes! To support GardenAfrica's work please click here.

As frustrating as it is to garden in a waterlogged allotment; can you imagine the desperation you’d feel if dry week followed dry week, you had no running water and your crop was your last, best hope of feeding your children? When the water lashes down on your windscreen this winter, spare a thought for the gardeners on the homesteads of Africa; for we are truly fortunate - we who have never prayed for rain.
Watering the vegetable garden

Project update: Organic Conservation Agriculture - Zimbabwe
Our August visit to see how our organic smallholders are getting on in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland East province really blew us away. After only 4 months of training at Fambidzanai, the vast majority of the 32 associations (consisting of over 700 farmers) were already producing a diversity of produce for market, despite the dry conditions. Furthermore, our partner ZOPPA is to be presented with an award for their 'outstanding contribution to standards development' by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ). These national organic standards are due to be formally incorporated this month - the fastest time these standards have ever been attained. This means that our certified producers will soon be able to access niche markets, realising more profit for their hard work, while safeguarding the health of their land for future generations. To read more about this project, click here.

Top left: A farmer trying a radish for the first time
Thank you!
Good luck to Will Lane from ShoeGarden who is driving an old banger (right) on a mammoth journey from Cambridge to Timbuktu to raise funds for GardenAfrica! Read more about this incredible challenge here!

Thank you for listening and responding to the GardenAfrica Radio 4 Appeal in June this summer. In total we raised £17,856.84 from the appeal. This is a fantastic sum and will help give gardeners in Africa the training and resources they need to grow their own vegetables, free from debt and dependency. We appreciate your kind support.

Thank you to organic gardener and amateur home brewer Stewart Horne from London who ran the Amsterdam Marathon for GardenAfrica (for the second time!) raising almost £300 for the charity and getting a personal best time of 3 hours 31 minutes in the race.

Thank you to the congregation of Christchurch in Lichfield, who fundraised for us during their Harvest Festival, raising over £500.

And a huge thank you to the nursing students at Dundee University, who continue to raise funds for our work, this time raising over £700.

Brighton Marathon

The London Marathon is famously hard to get a place so why not sign up for the Brighton marathon instead, running along some spectacular coast and scenic downs? To take part in this great new event while raising money for charity, click here for more information.

Things to do in your garden in November
  • Pick early sprouts
  • Plant garlic and broad beans
  • As soon as the leaves are down, start to winter prune fruit
  • Divide rhubarb plants
  • Net brassica plants (such as broccoli and kale) to protect from pigeons
  • Make sure that bare ground is covered. Autumn leaves make a good winter mulch, protecting the soil from heavy rain
  • Check your bonfire for hedgehogs before lighting it.

Seasonal Recipes

Spicy sweet potato soup Click here
Pear chutney Click here
Click here to visit Muswell Hillbilly, the GardenAfrica Blog

Click here
to join the GardenAfrica Facebook group

New! Follow us on Twitter @AfroGardener.

Click here to read how our trainees conserve precious water in Africa. (Pdf)

If you have a friend or colleague who might be interested in finding out more about the work of GardenAfrica, please forward this newsletter to them. Or, better still, email their details to and we will send them the newsletter 4 times a year. We promise not to pass on your email address to other charities, or anyone else.