In Kenya and Tanzania, farm producers are turning to a physical barrier to keep bugs out instead of using chemicals. Called Eco-Friendly Nets or Agronets, they can save growers 90 percent in pesticide costs and allow the farm to be classified as organic.
The nets are used for growing tomatoes, cabbages, kales, spinach, capsicum, and other vegetables.
They cost much less than constructing a greenhouse, and just may produce healthier crops than a greenhouse. Farmers using them have drastically increased their output of tomatoes since they help create a micro-climate which increases the heat and lessens the time required for maturity, in addition to restricting pests.
The nets are affordable for many of the small scale farmers.
AgroNet is a family of clear netting products developed by A to Z Textile Mills based in Arusha for use in horticulture—vegetables, fruit and ornamentals.
Photo by Kimberley Britt @ FlickrCC July 10, 2014.
“Smiling Eyes” – local farmer – in Minnesota
With a population of 66,000, Minneapolis has the largest Hmong urban population in the world. Farm programs for the Hmong in the Twin Cities area were begun in the 1980s.
These next photos are all taken at HAFA farm in Minnesota. HAFA stands for Hmong American Farmers Association. This group has benefitted the region with their unique and diverse specialty crops, as you will see in the photos.
Mao – onions – HAFA FARM
JUDY GAO – looking south – HAFA FARM
Veronica – wash stations – HAFA FARM
Mo, Sam, Mao, Vinai – red potatoes – HAFA FARM
Mao, Moua, Mao – peas – HAFA FARM
Tha corn seed – HAFA FARM
DOUA – TRACTOR leak – HAFA FARM
Finally, here is a video explaining the HAFA farm:
I’d venture to guess that this Hmong farm community around Minneapolis is aging as its younger generation chooses urban jobs over rural, as is the case everywhere else, too.
Photos are by Mike Hazard, Media for HAFA, FlickrCC.
This organic farm near Philadelphia explains how they got into saving seeds and tells some wonderful stories about heirloom vegetable varieties. He belongs to Seed Savers Exchange out of Iowa. Great black cat T-shirt he’s wearing, too!
Note that this was provided by Britain’s Soil Association.