Author Archive | Kristof

Plant of the Week – False Sesame

Ceratotheca sesamoides is also called ‘false sesame’ due to its similar appearance to the sesame plant. In Chichewa it is called ‘chewe’. This plant is indigenous to Africa and its leaves, seeds, and flowers are all edible. The seeds can be used similar to sesame, and added to breads, soups, or other recipes. Research has shown that these plants can provide significant nutritional sources of manganese, iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, and zinc.

Chewe can be found growing in the wild throughout Malawi, but their beautiful flowers make them a great addition to any functional landscaping design. Culturally, the false sesame has been used as a treatment for conjunctivitis, diarrhea, as a lubricant, and in the processing of shea butter.

Useful Plants of Malawi states that the leaves of the plants are sometimes used as a soap substitute, and that a porridge made from chewe mixed with bran and maize flour is sometimes given to young children and the sick people as it is easily swallowed.

All donations go directly towards helping to spread Permaculture solutions throughout Malawi. Every little bit helps, and even a little can go a long way!

Congratulations are in Order!

A big congratulations to Thoko Njoka who has completed her attachment from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) Bunda College, Horticulture Department, with NeverEndingFood and received her certificate in Permaculture Design!

As part of learning, Thoko participated in coursework, theory, practicals, and site visits. She learned about a wide variety of ways to feed the soil, manage water, diversify diets, and manage animals. She was also introduced to Permaculture concepts such as guilds and zones, which allowed her to create a map and a design for her family home. She gave a wonderful presentation on how she intends to use these design ideas to make this homestead more sustainable, productive, and resilient.

Never Ending Food‘s manager, Peter Kaniye, worked with Thoko over the month of July to make sure that she was getting exposure to all of the core curriculum components of an international Permaculture Design Course (PDC). Their site visits included outings to the Area 25 health center in Lilongwe, Goodfellow Phiri (who is the Director of Environmental Industries, which converts human urine to bionitrate fertilizer), and Zokolola, another local Permaculture initiative.

We have really enjoyed having Thoko as part of the Never Ending Food family, and we wish her all the best as she returns to her horticultural studies!

Moving Windmills

Never Ending Food had the opportunity to visit the Moving Windmills project in Kasungu, Malawi. This is the initiative inspired by William Kamkwamba and the author of the book entitled, The Boy who Harnessed the Wind, and the movie by the same name.

Moving Windmills uses a variety of approaches to empower and educate young entrepreneurs in Malawi. This includes the establishment of innovation ‘hubs’ where community members have access to books, computers, and other educational materials.

They have also worked with local communities to install solar powered water pumps, renewable energy systems, and low-cost water wells.

At the Moving Windmills main office, called ‘Grace House’, they use and demonstrate sustainable ideas such as: mobile libraries, rechargeable electric modes of transportation, composting, and recycling.

Never Ending Food would like to thank Moving Windmills for hosting our visit and taking the time to show us some of exciting things that are happening in the Kasungu area. Hopefully the next visit will be to Never Ending Food!

Welcome to Thoko Njoka!

Thoko Njoka is a 23-year-old student at The Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), Bunda campus. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in horticulture. Thoko is doing an attachment with Never Ending Food for the month of July to learn more about how Permaculture principles can fit into the application of her academic lessons.

Thoko says that she loves being outdoors and that she selected the horticulture programme due to her passion for learning more about the science of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, and ornamentals. She has expressed a desire to apply her learning to the art of landscaping, and is eager to learn more about how Permaculture uses a system of intentional design to create functional landscaping and food forests.

“Horticulture contributes to quality of life and to the beauty, sustainability, and rehabilitation of the environment, as well as human conditions. Plants, crops, and evergreen spaces sustain and enrich our lives by providing nutritious food, enhancing the beauty of our homes and communities, as well as reducing our carbon footprint.”

Thoko Njoka

Over the course of the month, Thoko will be progressing through the full Permaculture Design Course (PDC), facilitated by our Manager, Peter Kaniye, with the aim of being certified by the time she returns to school. We hope that Thoko finds her time at Never Ending Food to be an enjoyable, educational, and beneficial complement to her studies. Welcome from our entire team!

A Visit from Face-to-Face

Face-to-Face is a project which began in the United States in 2003 as part of the Harvard Medical School. It’s primary focus, at that time, was to help document and raise awareness regarding the devastating global toll of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

In 2006-07, this initiative expanded its focus to countries like Malawi and Cambodia, to help grassroots communities fight hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. The founder of Face-to-Face, Ken Wong, has visited Never Ending Food in the past and the project has now incorporated Permaculture principles into the establishment of ‘Victory Gardens’.

These Victory Gardens are small 3-meter by 3-meter, low-to-no cost, all-organic, homestead gardens which provide families with food throughout the entirety of the year. These gardens focus on producing a diversity of nutritious foods, increasing sources of income, and empowering communities to find locally-available solutions.

Never Ending Food received a visit from over 30 of their outreach workers to increase their knowledge of Permaculture principles, impart new ideas, and encourage them to keep striving to bring an end to things like malnutrition and ‘hungry seasons’ in Malawi.

A big thank you to the Face-to-Face Malawi Programme Director, Mike Chikakuda, for helping to arrange this visit, and a thanks as well to Never Ending Food Manager, Peter Kaniye, for answering everybody’s questions in Chichewa! Keep up the great work everybody!