Hello! Our names are Reiner & Sharon, and we are currently working for an Australian Aid Organisation in the Solomon Islands. Reiner is a farmer from Far North Queensland, working as a Forestry and Conservation Adviser. We are living in a small village called Kindu, and have linked in with a remarkable young man in the community called Patrick. He approached us for advice regarding a bush farm he had started from land given by his grandfather. We visited the bush garden and were astonished by the size and hard work which went into clearing that area. There are 13 young boys from the area living with Patrick from orphaned or dysfunctional families. They are sleeping on a platform under a tarp in the garden. Patrick is looked up to by the boys, as he is trying to feed, clothe and school them. The boys did a really good job in clearing the secondary bush and establishing seed beds and a seedlings nursery. We provided them with advise and seeds and supplied them with agriculture books from the Kastom Garden Association. They have started to market their vegetables and have received their first income. Next they would like to establish a piggery and a chook pen for egg and meat chook production. One European piglet will cost about $80 AUD and they need two for a start. It is also a goal to construct a modest leaf house for a dwelling. As much as possible bush materials will be used on the construction, utilizing local knowledge, however some material will have to be bought. We have estimated that for the next half year he will need about $2000 AUD to build the infrastructure for the animals, and to care for the boys. Once the pigs and chooks are producing the farm will hopefully, sustain itself. We are currently contributing $ 50 AUD a month, on top of our advisory work and the supply of the seeds.The agriculture advise we are providing is based on organic/bio-dynamic and permaculture principles which we use on our farm on the Atherton Tablelands. Seed-saving is of course also part of the agriculture practice. We encourage mulching of the seed beds and compost making as well as companion planting and integrated pest management. The group is very enthusiastic, creative, hard working and have a good chance to succeed. We will be mentoring them until our planned departure in September 2013. This is a really worthwhile project, as all funds raised will go directly to the boys!
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