Sue Dixon and Dave Jonah meet Lamin Drammeh on their 25th wedding anniversary trip at the Sandel Lodge, the Gambia. Over the years Sue, Dave, and Lamin formed a close friendship. Lamin even named one of his sons after Dave.
Lamin proposes to Sue and Dave that they launch The Vermont-Gambia Garden Project to Sue and Dave. The three of them began researching the necessary steps to start the project.
The Original solar-powered water pump is purchased with lead finical support from All Souls Interfaith Gathering in honor of Sue. Seeds and supplies to start the garden are also purchased at this time.
After the solar-powered water pump is installed the Gambia Garden team builds raised beds and makes compost.
Later in the year we upgraded the solar-powered water pump, the new pump is able to fill the water tank within two hours. This has given us the opportunity to increase project capacity from 4 to 13 families.
Wire fence installed around the garden thanks to the generosity of Catherine Cover Wilson. Providing greater protection and preventing crop loss.
The global covid-19 pandemic disrupts supply chain, cost of food and provisions increases.
Lamin proposes the addition of a poultry component to the Vermont-Gambia Garden Project.
In May, Lamin and the community committee meet with an engineer to draw up designs and estimate costs of the poultry project.
During June, communication director, Kim Jonah, created website and Instagram for the Vermont-Gambia Garden Project to expand out reach as fundraising for the poultry component began. By the end of June we have raised 25% of the $10,000 goal for the poultry project. Now, Lamin can purchase the materials (sand, rock, and cement) and begin installing the foundation for the six chicken coops.
By October 2021, the Gambian team completed the facility for the poultry component of the project. The poultry facility is a four room building with an office. Electric still needs to be installed as while as incubators for the chickens. Once the rest of the money is raised the poultry component of the project will be self sufficient and provide an additional source of livelihood and income for the community in the Gambia.
As of December 11th, 2021, the poultry facilities are being used to hold to tutoring sessions for the 14 children (more interested) of women working in the garden until the rest of the money can be raised to install electric and purchase chickens. Tutoring sessions will continue to be held in the facilities once all the money is raised, a portion of money raised will also go towards paying for a full time tutor. Currently, the children have to walk 3 miles to school in temperatures over a 100 degrees, hopes are the tutoring sessions will help keep the children of the community in school.
-Long Term Goal- When project manager, Lamin Drammeh, was asked about his long-term goals for the Vermont Gambia Garden Project he described his hopes to develop a learning center, "With continued strong support from our Vermont counter parts, the Community committee and I hope to create a learning center. To teach local people permaculture gardening and poultry farm systems. Where people will eat what they grow and find a market for the eggs from the poultry and vegetables from the garden. To be a sustainable and good living for local people in the community." Opening a learning center would expand the reach of the Vermont Gambia Garden Project to other local communities around Bafuloto and Banjul. Which would enable local populations in the Gambia to establish their own sustainable food systems, breaking free of the global agricultural and food systems.
Meet Our Team
The Vermont Gambia Garden Project relies 100% on volunteer labor. Day to day garden operations are run by local women and men in Bafuloto, Gambia. A committee of Bafuloto community members is responsible for overseeing long-term garden projects. The community committee provides a place for local citizens to voice their needs, concerns, and perspectives. Which is used to determine future plans for the Vermont-Gambia Garden Project. Other team members include:
Founder & Project Director
[A variety of other plants are grown during different seasons]