When your nearest vegetable supplier is not only somewhat unreliable but also a hot and bumpy 3 hour round trip away, it’s time to take life into your own hands and grow your own! That’s exactly what Tuli Safari Lodge has done with its new veggie garden!
There are 5 big benefits to this approach …
- You can’t get fresher than straight from the garden to the plate – Guests on safari can sometimes be a bit wary of eating vegetables, especially salads, applying the old traveller’s adage of “Boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it!” But everyone is delighted to tuck in to their ‘5 a day’ when they’re told that the veggies are all grown organically on site.
- Sustainability – Tuli Safari Lodge aims to produce enough vegetables to sustain the lodge and supplement staff rations on a monthly basis. Fuel is saved because the amount of long road journeys for shopping trips have been reduced. Even the 1000 bricks were made on site rather than brought in from outside, and the garden has been planned and planted cooperatively to deter insects so that no pesticides are required.
- Community benefits – Tuli Safari Lodge has used the vegetable garden to help promote healthy living with its staff and around 50% of the harvest is being given to the lodge team and their families. Initially the staff couldn’t visualise how it would work, as traditionally plants are grown straight in the ground rather than in a raised bed. But now many staff members are planning to build their own gardens with a view to supplying their local communities and schools with fresh vegetables.
- Social benefits –The Tuli team has been closely involved in the planning, building, planting and maintenance of the garden and they really relish the time spent together on such a rewarding activity. The staff are very proud of their achievements – news of the garden has spread far and wide! – and they’re also enjoying a more diverse and nutritional diet.
- Financial advantages – One of the lodge’s biggest food expenses is fresh vegetables, so direct costs will be saved as well as the time/travel costs saved by reduced shopping trips. Excess produce is being sold to neighbouring properties.
So far unwanted raiders have been kept out by enclosing the garden under 80% shade cloth, reinforcing the walls with chicken mesh which continues a metre underground and placing large rocks around the boundary to deter digging. Tuli’s garden currently includes herbs, salad vegetables, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, onions, squash, cauliflower, snow (sugar snap) peas and even watermelon, with lots more in the pipeline including specialties such as mushrooms.