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Erratic rainfall, small spaces and fluctuation in market costs are creating food security issues for vulnerable communities in Vanuatu. A new project is developing solutions for 1000 people to create their own daily food supply and carve out livelihoods, with the potential to scale the technology to reach even more communities in Vanuatu, and beyond.

In Vanuatu, communities in mainly peri urban areas that do not own their land, or live in small spaces, have limited land for growing crops and vegetables. This is essential not only for their daily food sufficiency, but to support the livelihoods of family and community. Limited land coupled with limited income makes it difficult for households to meet even their basic food needs. In addition, the changing climatic patterns and erratic rainfall in the region make it even more urgent to explore how crops and vegetables can be grown with limited water.

Vertical gardening and aquaponics are a solution currently being explored by EWB’s engineering team alongside the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Vanuatu. Students participating in the inaugural EWB Digital Design Summit have also contributed ideas that have been shared with the project team.

The project aims to develop a suite of appropriate technologies for circumstances where communities have limited land and water to grow their own food, or to sell produce in local markets. Ultimately, these solutions will empower communities to embrace small-scale sustainable farming through the development of innovative technology that can assist with this sustainable farming practice.

EWB’s work in Vanuatu is a joint programme between EWBA and EWBNZ and receives support from both the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and the New Zealand Government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT). You can also donate to support our work in Vanuatu.

The project needs additional financial support. Funding will contribute to the development of vertical gardens and aquaponics systems in peri-urban communities in Vanuatu, in particular improving women’s food security and livelihood in a small-spaces context. Please contact Llawela Forrest – l.forrest@ewb.org.au for more information on funding this initiative.