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Permaculture Gardens

Supporting the San to establish gardens for growing vegetables, fruits and dryland crops to improve livelihoods, food security, nutrition and combat the effects of climate change. 

Image by Vincent Erhart
Screenshot 2023-04-24 at 19.36.52.png

We have been working with and providing money to the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia (NNDFN) to help villages in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy establish gardens for growing vegetables, fruits and dryland crops. The aim is to improve livelihoods, food security, nutrition and combat the effects of climate change. 


Traditionally the Ju/’hoansi bushmen would have been living a more nomadic lifeway and have harvested wild ‘bush’ foods from the surroundings of a number of villages. Nowadays with less mobility and access to land it’s best to incorporate permaculture into a mixed food system which includes gathering wild foods, forest gardens, permaculture and the growing of vegetables. 


Gardens have been established in 26 villages and these villages have been receiving regular support from the NNDFN staff and consultants. NNDFN has introduced permaculture projects in many different forms throughout the years, but it has only really been positively received more recently. 

The Ju/’hoansi bushmen are not traditional gardeners, and not everyone has been eager to incorporate permaculture as part of their lifestyle.  However, seeing the successful gardens and associated benefits of other villagers or conservancy members, an increasing number of people and villages have been showing an interest in participating in the gardening project. Most of the participating villages currently practice a combination of vegetable production, sweet potato production and fruit tree cultivation with various levels of success, and with periodic water disturbances and other activities like devils claw harvesting sometimes affecting production.

The project has recently started with a Community Garden Advisor (CGA), who had been identified as an exemplary gardener, received additional training in gardening skills and knowledge,  and is now receiving a small monthly allowance to assist gardeners in neighbouring villages. This system has showed positive results, and we have identified 2 more clusters where this could take place. Some of the other things we have helped NNDFN provide are:

  • The selection and training of 2 additional Community Garden Advisors

  • Support and mentor 3 Community Garden Advisors

  • 2 workshops improving gardening training and skills, one of which will focus specifically on women

  • Continued village visits supporting gardens needing minimum, medium and high levels of support. 

  • Fencing, netting, wire, hosepipe, gardening tools and seeds

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