The gardens grow animal feed as well as herbs and vegetables
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Spotted: The Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC) 2023 estimates that over a quarter of a billion people were acutely food-insecure in 2022, something UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls “a stinging indictment of humanity’s failure to make progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 2 to end hunger, and achieve food security and improved nutrition for all.” Ugandan agtech company Hydroponics Gardens Masaka is working to reduce the number of people experiencing food insecurity by providing supported hydroponic growing programmes.
Designed specifically for smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs – especially women – the hydroponic gardens grow feed for animals and vegetables for the community. The company provides training on the hardware and software required to run a hydroponic farm, along with growing and harvesting techniques. And to help accelerate the profitability of the garden, the startup supplies growers with direct-to-consumer business models and plans.
Because the gardens don’t require soil, and use much less water than traditional gardens, the systems can be installed in a range of smaller spaces. Young growth barley grows large enough in just five to eight days to be fed to livestock, and the hydroponic gardens can be installed either vertically or horizontally, depending on what best suits the homeowner’s space. Cabbage, kale, spinach, and other greens are crops Hydroponics Gardens Masaka recommends for home-growing.
Owners can choose varied levels of automation for the systems, and waste is minimal, which is partially why hydroponic farming is a more sustainable means of growing food. So far, from the over 500 growing systems Hydroponics Gardens Masaka has installed for home use, more than 100 tonnes of food have been generated.
As the need for locally grown food continues to increase, innovators are creating a range of solutions. In the archive, Springwise has spotted examples such as the use of food waste for hydroponic nutrients and an app-led connected grow pod for home use.
Written By: Keely Khoury