Smallholder farmers feed our nation Uganda and beyond. So, it is a wonder that backyard gardening for food is mostly frowned upon here. “It is for the poor,” many have surmised. And so, it is the norm that in the urban ares of Uganda, especially, that large chunks are utilised to grow aesthetically pleasing non-edible grass and plants – green grass, flowers and the like. A practice, moreover, that costs a lot – to establish and to maintain such decorative gardens.
The opportunity cost is huge, in the context of a country unable to provide sufficient public healthcare services for its population, for example.
- Does it make sense for public hospitals in Uganda to have large decorative gardens, while at the same time they host a significant number of malnourished children on the ward?
- And, case in point, shouldn’t it be the practice of healthcare facilities in Uganda to pro-actively engage in preventative healthcare through leading by example – using hospital grounds for growing nutritious food?
Backyard food gardens can be aesthetically pleasing too. As a start, backyard home gardens, need not be only populated with non-edible decorative plants, as is the norm on significant sections of land that surrounds public and private premises in Uganda. We could strike a balance and have both.
Fellow Ugandans, what will it take to decolonize and to re-orient our minds away from the belief that large junks of land around our homes must be used to establish decorative gardens? Time to act is now, we can no longer keep up appearances.