I’ve spoken previously about my dream of having my own homestead, one that inspires and gives back to the community and I am hoping to undertake this adventure in Egypt.
Whilst doing a little research today I came across a video made by a company with a fantastic vision not to dissimilar from my own. The company is called Schaduf. Two brothers came together to adapt a historic irrigation method so that it could be used to create roof top gardens. They use a method called aquaponic farming which is an enclosed water cycle system where a nutrient solution is added to the water and as the water goes through the system it us recycled over and over being topped up only when water is lost through evaporation. Sometimes such set ups can get the nutrients via the waste products of fish that are kept in one part of the system however it didn’t appear from what I read that Schaduf are currently using fish in their systems. Not only is this a sustainable method of growing vegetables it also requires very little space making it ideal for urban areas and all the produce produced is organic.
Schaduf dosnt stop there though, they have done some major projects for big companies and organisations throughout the middle east but there mission is alot greater and far more humble. Egypt has many low income families and communities which could benifit from the help of Schaduf to set up there own sustainable urban and rooftop gardens. By providing amazing hands on support, education and instillation the team help local communities build their own farms and even purchase the produce to sell at markets and in super markets at a profit for the farmers. Such schemes provide a much needed self sufficient sustainable income to families and a sense of hope and independency for those in less than favorable situations. In my opinion it certainly could go along way to impowering the people.
Of course hireing Schaduf is not free but inline with their overall mission they offer low-income families their system and service on a loan basis which can be paid back monthly and usually takes no longer than a year. And the profits from the sale of produce can be enough to make these repayments. Of course any loan has its risks and perhaps this is a point that turns some people away from such ventures especially those who already have concerns over income.
However risky or uncertain such a venture maybe I do seriously admire what Schaduf have been able to achieve. It is not easy to step out and challenge preconceptions and notions about the difficulty of growing your own produce let alone in such small areas and low income communities.
I have alot more research to do and a few new questions such as the implications of having an aquaponic system on the amount of electricity that would be consumed and the ease of installing solar systems for both cost and environmental benifits. Also would such a system attract mosquitos with the possibility of mosquito eggs being laid and hatching in parts of the system, which could lead to greater illness or disease risks for people residing in close proximity. Water can be heavy so I do wonder if all roofs are suitable or strong enough to endure the weight of water, soil and plant mass… I’m guessing seen as roof gardens are quite popular that this is perhaps not an issue but I’d still like some further information for sure.
If you’d like to take a look at all the success Schaduf has had so far check out there website Here