The 2013 National Guidelines for Cancer Management in Kenya identifies nutritional care and upkeep as an integral component in cancer treatment. However, many patients are not fortunate enough to access healthy and balanced dietary sources. Various studies report a high prevalence of malnutrition among cancer patients from developing countries including Kenya.
A large number of cancer patients have financial constraints, not to mention the dual burden of COVID-19 that has led to job losses and lowered incomes, making it hard to access and meet their nutritional needs.
The Africa Cancer Foundation (ACF), one of International Cancer Institute’s (ICI) strategic partners, has come up with a convenient, cost-effective, and sustainable method for patients to obtain a healthy and nutritious diet right from their homesteads through cone gardening for better outcomes in their treatment journey.
Cone kitchen gardening is efficient and highly effective where there are restricted spaces, crop rotation requirements, and stratification purposes. Cone gardening is also suitable for dry, non-fertile areas where conventional gardening is a problem.
The garden has great water utilization, low soil temperatures, better root penetration, and aeration for high crop yields. Additionally, the elevated setup makes the garden easier to maintain for the patients in case of any functional status alterations and has enabled innovators to be self-employed and engage in constructive economic activities.
The garden has great water utilization, low soil temperatures, better root penetration, and aeration for high crop yields. Additionally, the gardens have enabled innovators to be self-employed and engage in constructive economic activities.
In November 2020, ACF partnered with Sunblest Foundation to set up such vegetable cone gardens for patients and went on to raise funds to set up 300 cone gardens for cancer patients in 6 counties in Kenya namely Kisumu, Uasin Gishu, Nairobi, Marsabit, Nyandarua, and Narok. By partnering with cancer treatment facilities and patient-based organizations, needy patients that could benefit from the project were and can be identified.
ACF has partnered with ICI to set up such gardens at the ICI Child and Family Wellness Centre-Creation Hive compound and the homes of patients in Eldoret (Uasin Gishu County).
We hope the cone gardens will give cancer patients and their caregivers proximal access to fresh organic produce, food security, and proper nourishment both at home and at the Wellness Centre as they undergo treatment.
By Pavanraj Chana and Sammy Chege