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Background and Progression


For 20 years I lived with my husband on an organic smallholding called Home Farm on the Hampshire - Sussex border in England whilst bringing up my children. During those years I was very involved in the Green Movement and, besides running the self-sufficient smallholding, I hosted Permaculture Courses and Regional Gatherings and was an active member of the local Self-Sufficiency Group and ran the local LETS scheme.

I came to the Gambia, as most other Europeans do, as a tourist about 10 years ago. Never having liked hotel holidays, I borrowed a car and drove up country. I was amazed to find that most of the aspirations of the groups I was involved with in UK were already in place in the day-to-day lives of the village people of rural Gambia as of necessity. People with no money naturally shared their tools and utensils, and bartered commodities. Nothing was wasted and a use was found for everything. The lifestyle was simple and uncomplicated and the people, especially the children, were peaceful, free and happy. I loved everything about it - except the poverty and the lack of food. So I kept returning year after year - staying with Gambian friends in mud block houses in the bush in Jarra East and each time learning a little more about how the communities functioned and getting my ideas in place of how I could help without impacting too much on a life system that I had grown so much to respect and enjoy. For a long time I did nothing except watch and listen. Then circumstances in England forced me to sell my smallholding and the time came for me to put in place some of my ideas. I decided then to set up a garden project in the Gambia and I called it after the name of the farm I was just selling. Hence the Home Farm Project.


My first step was to rent a compound in Serekunda and get acquainted with what other NGO type operations based in the Kombo area (the city area along the coast) were doing - so that I would not be duplicating efforts and so that I could call on their expertise if needed. I have had a permanent base there for nearly 5 years. In that time I developed the Home Farm Project and set up a trial site. I also worked out ideas in design and established four trial gardens for four young men in Kiang West - reputedly one of the poorest areas in the Gambia. I have funded all these trials and activities myself, including funding the four gardens. I have used money from the sale of Home Farm in UK - not wanting to use other people's money for my own research until I was sure that my theories would produce what I hoped of them. I know of many projects that use donations to try out ideas. Every element of the Home Farm Project to date has been personally tried, tested and funded by me.

Contact Sandy Wansbury at
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