Focus on the Soil
Adapting to Climate Change with Food Security by Adding Clay and Compost to Sandy Soil. Youth Community Centralized Compost Cooperatives, to increase Water-holding Capacity, Fertility, prevent Erosion
Project Mission: To increase agriculture capacity in areas of sandy soil, low water-holding capacity and soil fertility, while organizing youth in communities to compost and share agriculture information.
A little bit of clay goes a long way. Sandy soil, which is very common in sub-Saharan Africa were food security issues are of highest concern, tend to have problems of leaching nutrients, low water-holding capacity and lower soil fertility than clay soils. A quick, cost-effective intervention would be to introduce clay into sandy soil gardens in communities experiencing this problem all over the world especially in Africa. By encouraging youth in communities to create Community Centralized Compost Cooperatives with the support of organizations, agriculture extension workers and government agencies, the clay could be easily distributed by adding it to compost for a certain period of time. Since the intervention would be upfront and brief, community participation may increase quickly if the community is made aware that the clay-enriched compost would only be supplied temporarily. The more clay-enriched compost each community member uses over that given time, the better they will fix the composition of their soil. Since an ideal soil will be mostly sand, even a little bit of clay will go a long way. Therefore, intervention can be brief and highly cost-effective.
Start-up cost: $5000
Proposed Start-up Budget
1400 First project as described below for one community chosen through Website and Peace Corps networking
2500 Costs of starting NGO (i.e. legal, website, marketing) focused on community development through composting initiatives
600 Fundraising for second project and recruiting volunteers
500 Compost Research and Development
Projects will be granted money for the cost of removal and transportation of clay in an environmentally-friendly way as described below. After implementation of clay deliveries, the Community Centralized Compost Coops will have been operating for 1 - 2 years and the NGO will continue to provide state-of-the-art composting training materials for the sustainability of the coops.
Action Plan for First Project:
Set up Project Announcement page on NGO website and market through various social media and networks. Find a suitable grantee to carry out the project as outlined below:
Communities interested in participating in this project would apply by doing the following:
- Send a Soil Test report to the organization.
- Send grant application
- Engage youth to start a Community Centralized Compost Cooperative and produce community's first batch of compost.
* Centralizing compost operations at one location in the community would allow for standardizing best composting techniques, sharing agriculture knowledge, and increasing compost inputs with increasing community participation.
The organization would then provide the Community Centralized Compost Cooperative with the following:
- Funds for clay transported to the Coop location over the course of 1 to 2 years, depending on soil tests indication of how much clay is needed, at the times of each completed compost so long as the community Coop continues to compost. The clay would then be added to the compost and distributed to the community by the Coop.
* Clay removal from clay soil sites should be done responsibly, taking consideration of the environment. This means taking from sites as close to the Coop location as possible to keep transport costs down after only taking from sites in which the removal of clay serves another purpose, i.e. carving out drainage ditches for roads or farm soil drainage.
- Oversight by reaching out to organizations and government agencies on the ground, requesting they visit and update NGO on status of the Coop
Real World Impact:
The Community Centralized Compost Cooperatives should involve youth and women as primary owners and stakeholders of the Coops. The application of clay-enriched compost and other compost solutions shared to grantees through the NGOs training and support can improve soil fertility and water-holding capacity, nurturing quality soil and preventing soil erosion. The project will further support the youth in organizing services such as bulletin boards with current crop sale prices at the Coop location, skill-building workshops on mulching and other sustainable agriculture practices, joint seed purchases, or setting up a nursery through manuals and communication support.
It will be the aim of the NGO to assist in improving soil conditions around the world for sustainable nutrition for all. It all starts with the soil.
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