British expat farmer seeking support for Kenyan hydroponics training programme

Some of Linda's early hydroponic successes.

Along with owning a traditional farm in the Malindi area, British expat Linda Nash has been studying hydroponics. Using her new found knowledge, she is launching a gogetfunding campaign to enable her to set up a hydroponics programme to teach women, schoolchildren and disabled people how to grow their own food using very little water and the minimum of equipment.

During the 21 years living in Kenya, Linda has seen the difficulties that local people are experiencing first hand which has inspired her to share her knowledge with those in need on a practical level.

Linda checks for healthy roots before putting them in water and nutrients.

“The basics of hydroponics is very simple,” Linda told us, before outlining this method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent.

“Plants can be set quite close together since they will not be fighting for food plus they grow faster because feed is constant. Consequently cropping can be done more often,” she added.

Linda has set up a demonstration site using her 80²m roof space where she is experimenting with growing crops.

Linda waters the bucket tower before the seedlings go out.

There, plants are exposed to sunlight for twelve hours a day with shelter provided by a shade net. She also intends to add a structure, but this will also need to be quite heavy because of occasional high winds. Despite living on the third floor with no trees near, monkeys still manage to find a way to her roof space, so protection from them will also be required.

Hydroponics roofspace
Linda’s roof space where she will be developing her hydroponics workshop.

Among other equipment she will need are water pumps, reservoirs, stop taps, teaching aids and hopefully some ‘community barrels’ to be used by neighbourhoods in underprivileged areas.

Linda is hoping to be able to provide these community barrels, which will include full start up kits, herself. Currently an empty barrel that once contained foodstuffs sells for Ksh 14,000 in Mombasa, but she believes it’s possible to supply them for far less and donate them to families, schools and any other deserving cause.

Washing and sterilising the pipes ready for set up.

But her philanthropic aspirations don’t stop with hydroponics alone. Depending on the amount of donations she receives, she is also hoping to set up a fish tank raising Tilapia to add aquaponics to the mix.

Aquaponics refers to any system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.

After the fish are fed, any waste they produce along with the water is pumped up to the plants above. The roots of plants clean the water which then drains back into fish tank so the cycle can begin again.

“This, of course, is an ideal supply of protein and vegetables for a family with a possible income stream and all while preserving water,” explained Linda. To maximise space, discarded plastic bottles can be stacked into ‘grow towers’ to create a vertical grow space.

Linda is not affiliated with any charity, nonprofit organisation or NGO and hopes the independence this affords her will enable her to reach people at grassroots level as quickly as possible. If you would like to support Linda’s initiative, you can do so through her fundraising page or by using the ‘Donate Now’ button below.

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