1. Community Growers of Kilindi – a number of families live alongside our boundaries that have farming land available but no money with which to develop their farms. We held a series of meetings with the local councillor and identified 6 families who had about an acre of available land each. We were fortunate to source more than 1600 high yield coffee seedlings which were then distributed to these families. Training clinics were held on each farm and a local expert was brought in to provide advice on growing techniques and harvesting. These trees are now more than 3 metres tall and the families have been successfully harvesting coffee beans! Apart from coffee seedlings, the Hairy Lemon also handed over mango, avocado and orange trees which are now in the early stages of production.
2. Kilindi Junior School has grown in numbers over the past few years and from a modest 65 students in 2012, Head Teacher Patrick now has over 300 students enrolled for 2015. The Hairy Lemon in association with Camps International hosts a number of student volunteers from the UK each summer. Together we have built two classrooms with cement floors and mabaati roofs and this year we even managed to install a rain water catchment system; providing clean water for students. Paw-paw trees have been planted alongside the boundary fence and this year we added mango and avocado trees too!
3. Farmers in the area provide us with locally grown maize, rice, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, tomatoes and cabbages. These supplement the yield from our own farm, which runs on strong organic farming principles. We use our farm as a demonstration project so that we can teach our supporting farmers about the correct use of home-made pesticides and the inter planting of crops such as beans and peas to provide much needed nutrients for the soil and in time to come; a healthier and more productive field. Our belief is in teaching sustainable farming techniques alongside water conservation practices to ensure a safer, cleaner and healthier planet.
4. Honey for Money is one of our newest projects. The Hairy Lemon has installed over 16 bee hives around the farm and surrounding areas. Two staff members are employed and trained on bee keeping and the necessary skills for harvesting and cleaning are then shared. It has taken our bees a while to settle down and claim their respective hives; but the good news is that the first harvest of just under 1lt has been far exceeded with the current harvest.
5. Indigenous Tree Nursery and Fruit Tree Planting Project is for us possibly the most important of all our projects. In the past three years we have successfully sourced indigenous tree seeds and have managed to propagate over more than 1000 trees. Interested guests are welcome to take home as many as two or three trees as long as they plant them in a safe and protected area. The majority of our seedlings have been used on the island and on the farm, where we have planted up natural fences between our neighbours.
We have a small nursery on the island and a second nursery for fruit trees on the farm. We are constantly educating staff and their children on the importance of trees – most especially evident on the island as they provide the natural habitat for our beautiful red tailed monkeys!