Creating Space: Sack Gardening as a Livelihood Strategy in the Kibera Slums of Nairobi, Kenya

  • Courtney M. Gallaher Northern Illinois University
  • Antoinette M. G. A. WinklerPrins Johns Hopkins University
  • Mary Njenga University of Nairobi
  • Nancy K. Karanja University of Nairobi
Keywords: Africa, Kenya, Kibera, Livelihoods, Sack Gardening, Urban Agriculture

Abstract

As many countries in sub-Saharan Africa undergo rapid urbanization, a growing number of people are joining the ranks of the urban poor. Urban agriculture is a livelihood strategy used by the poor to improve their well-being, but it has remained largely inaccessible to inhabitants of slums, who generally lack access to land to farm. However, in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya, a relatively new form of urban agriculture has emerged, called sack gardening, in which farmers plant crops into the sides and tops of large sacks of soil. Our research asked how participation in sack gardening served to improve the livelihoods of farmers in the Kibera slums of Nairobi. We demonstrate that urban agriculture can be a viable and important livelihood strategy for households, even in densely populated slum environments. Low-space urban agricultural activities like sack gardening should receive greater consideration as part of urban development initiatives.

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Courtney M. Gallaher, Northern Illinois University
Department of Geography/Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Northern Illinois University; DeKalb, IL 60115 USA; +1-815-753-6836.
Antoinette M. G. A. WinklerPrins, Johns Hopkins University
Academic Program Director, Environmental Studies, and Faculty Fellow, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University; 3400 North Charles Street; 301 Olin Hall; Baltimore, Maryland 21218 USA.
Mary Njenga, University of Nairobi
Department of Land Resource Management and Agricultural Technologies, University of Nairobi and World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF); P.O. Box 1253-00606; Nairobi, Kenya.
Nancy K. Karanja, University of Nairobi
Department of Land Resource Management and Agricultural Technologies, University of Nairobi; P.O. Box 30197-00100; Nairobi, Kenya.
Published
2015-02-16
How to Cite
Gallaher, C. M., WinklerPrins, A. M. G. A., Njenga, M., & Karanja, N. K. (2015). Creating Space: Sack Gardening as a Livelihood Strategy in the Kibera Slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 5(2), 155-173. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2015.052.006