State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Building “Bloom & Bud,” An Educational Garden in Kisumu, Kenya

The following is a guest blog, authored by Meagan HoChing, a Harvard University student. This account is based on Meagan’s time volunteering with the Millennium Cities Initiative in Kisumu, and her contributions to an educational garden to teach community members to urban farm.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author in this blog do not represent the opinion of the Millennium Cities Initiative, the Earth Institute at Columbia University or any of its professional consultants.

Ham Jambo!

My name is Meagan HoChing and I have recently had the absolute pleasure of spending two weeks in beautiful Kisumu, Kenya. I am a visiting student from Harvard University studying at Great Lakes University Kisumu (GLUK), Kibos location. The objective of the course is to challenge students to think of an innovation that could potentially reform Kisumu’s healthcare system. The challenge seemed broad at first, but I had a better idea of how I could contribute once I was assigned to support the Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI), a project of the Earth Institute at Columbia University focused on helping selected sub-Saharan cities attain the Millennium Development Goals and reduce extreme poverty.

I joined a group of seven students supporting MCI’s Kisumu office. The seven of us make up three different groups, each focused on a different initiative. I was excited to discover that one of those initiatives involved “going green,” and I knew immediately that this is a project I would love to support.

I am working with two other students, Molly and Pamela, to plan this project to “go green,” and we have been working tirelessly to perfect what we would like to call “Bloom and Bud,” which involves urban farming with 100% recyclable materials, in an effort to provide food sustainability for those with minimal to no land or food security. Within the first week of our project, GLUK graciously donated 1/8 of an acre of land on campus for us to test this agriculture concept and use it as an educational garden to teach community members how to urban farm.

Molly, Pamela and I recently hung our first vertical sack of seeds and planted our sack gardens using manure and fertilizer donated by a local sugar factory. We are now looking into a potential partnership with GLUK Agribusiness students, in the hope that they might take over the garden to ensure this project is sustainable.

There is much more, but you will have to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and blogger to find out!!/BloomandBud

And to read an article about the other students’ work in Kisumu, visit MCI’s website:

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11 years ago

This looks like a fabulous project – I wish you the very best for this. I look forward to seeing how this progresses

LanaJoseph @ Garden offices
11 years ago

A very good initiative, especially in a place like Africa and this would help to bring in more.

Stephen Okoth
Stephen Okoth
10 years ago

GLUK’s approach of using its extension services in the community is a sure way of according its students experiential learning besides demonstrating to community members that education is meant for solving practical problems. The approach has set GLUK apart as it enables it to leave great impacts in the communities it comes into contact with and on its students.