Damn Good Biking

Damn Good Biking
Mammath Mountain

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Current Projects

Hi guys today i was told to submit to my boss all of my current projects so they have some clue to what your wayfarer is actually doing. Honestly i don't have a clue what I am doing, each day is a learning experience, but i can't remember a time of having so much fun learning.

Sorry for all the Acronyms.....I work for the government.

also sorry for all the type-o's, i have no time to edit before returning to the bush, and i went to a state college.

go figure.

Here is the information you asked about, this is an outline of my current projects if you wish for further clarifications don't hesitate to ask.



Improved farming methods

-FMNR Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration


-SEF Sahelian Eco Farm

-IITA Cowpea and Millet intercropping

Last years field combination of all four methods

30 X 30 meter field

-15+ different sources of food, Trees/ Field crops

-45+trees over 15 varieties

In village Home Fields

-Edible Forest Garden

Acacia, High Value crops, rainy season gardens, melons, gourds

-Dry lands Orchards

Mangoes, Pomegranate's, Dates, Banana, Figs, Citrus

-Sunken Well Project

Using improved methods of water catchment systems, drip irrigation w/ readily available materials to create.

Farmers Field School

What is our school

Who funded it



Influence in Village & other villages

Project Goals

Nazifi's Army

This is a group of kids who adopted my goal is to teach them improved methods of agriculture, mapping, Permaculture, micro stock management, composting. This year they are working in my Peppenaire, and will be working my field for last year and will reap all the proceeds of their harvest and hopefully will also be hired out for individual projects by the owners of fields and houses.

SIM Village Demonstration

Held a village demonstration promoting acacia trees,

-Built and trained villagers on improved cook stoves

-Demonstrated integrating acacia flour into traditional foods

-Health benefits of acacia for humans and microstock

-Discussed Improved farm management FMNR, IFMIF'S (SASSABE ZAMANI)

-Prepared food for 300+ people


The goal of this years tree nursery project is train nurserymen on improved methods of management, and provide advanced training in techniques such as grafting mangoes, pomme de sahel, and citrus trees. Since assuming management of the nursery my ambition is to integrate a permaculture design into the existing nursery using a dry land orchard and garden into the area.

Tree Planting

-1500 acacia trees: A. Coleii, A. Tumida, A. Touralousa

-500 High value trees: Merenga, Baobob, grafted varieties of Mangoes, PDS, along with Citrus and numerous fruit trees.

-Collaborating with PPILDA's demands to out plant an additional 2,000 trees such as Neem and other native varieties.

Animal Integration

Goats, Sheep, Chickens, OX, Horse, potentially bees.

-All animals bred are used to distribute freely to organized groups.

-Readily Supply of Manure/Compost materials for orchard and gardens

Income Generation-value added products

(hibiscus juice, food products from fields such as sesame cakes)

Trained individuals to build improved cook stoves

Rainy Season and Cold season gardens

Traditional - Melons, Gourds, tomatoes, carrots, etc

Initially the gardens in the orchard will be focused more on gardening training methods rather than high output

INRAN Agro Forestry Project

Collaboration of 3 surrounding villages and over 20+ workers

Out planting In Sha Allah 15,000+ native varieties trees

Tree Nursery Irrigation Systems

Due to the high volume of trees and water demands for each peppenaire, I am currently working to provide both nursery's with an irrigation system that extends from the wells underground and fills water cisterns connected to the well and above ground water catchment systems.

Nursery Training Courses

Working in collaboration with SIM international to train local nurserymen and provide training in advanced techniques.

-Currently organizing field trips to regional Peppenaire's


-Women's groups Goat and Sheep distribution 20+

-Rabbit project teaching management, breeding, nutrition, and innovative methods to build rabbit hutches.

-Chicken nutrition project improving diet of fowl using acacia seeds

-I have recently purchased an ox to pull water for my nursery and will be an invaluable resource for plowing and carrying heavy loads on the cart to desired locations. I will also be turning the bull's diet into a project in itself demonstrating proper animal nutrition, and medicine.


Since being in Niger I have been studying an alternative method of agriculture called Permaculture. The benefit of this type of agriculture is that it reinforces living within the limitations of the environment, maximizing the potential of every resource, but always striving to improve the quality of soil and the availability of food.

I have realized that there is a huge demand in this type of agriculture in Niger. Permaculture is a type of agriculture derived from the best of what traditional agriculture around the world provides. Permaculture will work here because it is based on foraging which reinforces the typical village lifestyle but stresses organizing and zone management of space.

This is in large my contribution to the village, and as each project evolves my goal is after my service to have shown my village an alternative method of working and living.

Currently there are administrators looking into the possibility of integrating these concepts into PC training. Also I will be leaving behind a manual of my work, and Permaculture design manual tailored specifically for Niger.

Examples of Permaculture Housing

A principal of Permaculture is to utilize untapped resources generally discarded as unusable. Some examples would be old tires, large tomato paste cans, woven cement sacks for water storage when planting high water demanding trees such as mangoes. Shade Hangars are also an incredible resource, they are a multifunctional tool for shade, and storage, but why not make them even more so.

Garden Hangar-

This waist high structure connected to my house will support a variety of readily available herbs and vegetables used to flavor sauces and add essential vitamins.

The microstock Shade Hangar-

A larger structure adjacent to the garden hangar will supply ample area for shade, and if built correctly will be planted with grass, which will offer a living barrier to protect the structure from solar damage and rain but will doubly function to provide rabbits and chickens with a readily available food source.

In addition I intend to demonstrate how to create a hanging garden from the support structure which will grow items such as tomatoes and peppers upside down so that gravity works in favor to stimulate a healthier plant since energy will not be needed to support its standing structure.


Though my goal is to build a new house using permaculture design, currently I am looking into how to make the roof of my house a living space as well, and will be building a series of water diversion and catchments to support rainy season gardens and doubly function as compost pits during dry season.

Potato and Garden Huts

Currently there are numerous empty circular huts with no roofs which serve no other function that taking up space, or if someone doesn't want to walk to the bush to relieve themselves. Why not use these as a protected areas to plant gardens, composting, or more imaginatively as a place to grow potatoes.

The idea is to accumulate old unusable tires and create them into a valuable resource by planting the ground lever with seed and as the potato plant grows the manager adds more compost and stacks tires higher as the plant grows. This will provide the gardener with easily accessible source of food and market produce.

This project also reinforces the need to compost instead of dumping and spreading field fodder without composting.

House Gardens

As opposed to empty unused huts, hamlets being lived in can be just as a valuable resource for rainy season gardening. Planting around a hut an individual can direct the water to cisterns, and can also compost for a healthy garden if protected. Also thinking of utilizing resources think of the roof itself, all year organic matter clings to every roof and when it rains this organic material returns to the ground, it can be rich in nutrients which will also support healthier plants.

The Forest Garden

Forest gardens are an area that mimics the natural system of a forest only in this case the manager chooses which species to integrate which could include for example highly sought after medicinal plants, trees for fruit/nuts, animal fodder, and building supplies.

The Dryland Orchard

Dryland orchards in the typical Nigerien village could drastically alter the use of land for small fields within individual concessions and similarly could drastically improve the nutrition and income generation for the household. Though the orchard will need to be protected and will be water intensive, labor intensity and resource use can be drastically reduced by adapting permaculture planting designs. The idea is using less water more effectively and allowing the orchard to be largely rain fed thus allowing many isolated villages with deep water tables the opportunity to grow within their villages a resource not generally considered feasible.

In my opinion introducing and training my villagers will be my greatest contribution agriculturally to my village, Dan Saga is a village agriculturally well ahead of the curve of the typical Nigerien village but there is room for improvement and my goal is to continue my self taught method of this agriculture and hopefully return to Niger promoting this alternative in thinking about land use and management.

Center for the Promotion of Music" CFPM"

Recently while playing music at the CFPM I was inspired by one of the local musicians who recently assumed control over the café' and after starting out with an investment of only 2,500 cfa ($5.00 USD) and after a little more than a month is now operating a full café' with one other employee.

If you think the term starving artists means something come here and you'll see the artists and musicians are hungry for more things than food for their sustenance. They need work, food, instruments, job skills, and most importantly inspiration to create and sustain something for themselves instead of relying on donations.

My desire is to create a full scale permaculture design onto their compound planting things for food, building materials, instruments, and other natural resource management methods to maximize every resource available. But generally as an artist myself I would want a more welcoming environment for the artist of the center.

Okay well that's about it, if you have any questions, or "what the hello are you thinking kind of comments"please don't feel hesitant to ask, each of these projects are a learning experience as much for myself as the villagers and I am always open to constructive outside advice or ideas.

I expect that for the IST in may I would deliver a general outline of my work, and provide information in the form of pictures and handouts as a resource for the volunteers to think of how to incorporate into their own agriculture or natural resource management work.


Overeducated Twit said...

Hey now... I graduated from the same state school. Don't use that as an excuse for lazy editing ;). What a range of projects--I like that there's even attention to the artists. Very cool.

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