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Farm Design Subtitle

The farm is designed to provide sustenance for 10 single mothers and their children who will reside on the farm as well as provide
high quality organic fruits and vegetables for restaurants and customers which are not typically grown in Nicaragua.
The total area of the initial portion of the farm is about 70 meters x 70 meters, approximately 1 acre.
You can read more about the women´s shelter project here

Each part is explained below
Overview of farm

The northern 1/3 acre ( appx 25m x 70m)
northern map
Neem Tree Border - Neems trees planted at 5m intervals which surround the entire property.  Neem trees act as a windbreak and repel pest insects.  Neem tree leaves can be harvest to produce Neem oil, an organic insecticide that can be sprayed directly on vulnerable plants.
Security Wall - This is a 2m concrete wall topped with barbed wire to prevent theft and destruction.  The wall also provides protection against wild predators as well as dogs as well as acts as a windbreak and provides some protection against pest insects.
Pulperia -This is a  store located within the main house.  The store sells common household items (soap, toothpaste, food items) as well as fruits and vegetables grown on the farm. Here is an explanation of why a Pulperia is so important to our project.
Kitchen Area - The kitchen area for residents as well as value-added products.  The kitchen is open to the daycare, pulperia and patio
Crisis Housing - This is where the two rooms are located that we will have available for women brought to us by the police.
Daycare -provides daycare for the 5 women who are at school and possible the children of the other residents depending on their current chores.  The Daycare has 1 worker with nearby help from the Pulperia and Kitchen worker.
Resident Rooms - These are dorm style rooms for the residents.  The rooms open up to the south with a patio in front.
Rainwater Collection -  15,000 gallons of rainwater storage necessary to keep production going through the dry season ( Jan - April).  Four tanks on the west side of the property provide water for the main vegetable cages, while two tanks to the east provide water to the Talipia pond (and later to the Moringa orchard).

Greenhouse -  The greenhouse has a poly roof with shade cloth walls. Located on the south side of the main building to provide protecting against weather from the north

Micro-green station - Initially four different micro-greens produced in small batches as we test demand

Fodder - Sprouting barley as feed for chickens, fish and rabbits

Seed Starting - typical greenhouse function

Post-Harvest Station - Washing and packaging area for harvested vegetables and fruits

Vermicompost/worm farm - 4 horizontal migration containers measuring 2m x 1m x1m each. Not a typical vermicompost system as we will be harvesting a moderate amount of worms as feed for chickens and fish.  Able to harvest 1 cubic meter of vermicompost per month.

Chicken Incubator and Brooder - We will be growing appx 30 meat chickens per month.  Ninety days total, the first 30 in the brooder.

Rabbit Breeding Area -  2 males and 12 females to produce appx 30 rabbits per month using a slow breeding cycle.  Main purpose is to produce manure for fertilizer, bunnies will be sold as pets for $10 each at 60days.  High demand in Nicaragua for pet rabbits.

Tilapia Breeding - One tank with 1 male and 4 females to produce fry.  Goal is to have 300 Tilapia to harvest each month at 8 months of age.  First 3 months in the greenhouse then 5 months in the outdoor tanks.
Patio -  will contain rocket stove, drying racks and solar oven for creating meals and value-added products.
Bamboo, Sunflower and Amaranth -  The bamboo will be used for small construction projects and garden trellises. Sunflower and Amaranth are grown for micro-green seeds as well as biomass for vermicomposting.
Citris Orchard -  Orange, Mandarin and Lemon trees.
Tilapia and Duckweed ponds - Duckweed is grown in the northern area as a food source for the Tilapia in the southern area.  The Tilapia are in one tank with separators for each succession. As fish mature, they get moved to the east.  This is not an aquaponics system, instead water is fed in daily from rainwater collection  tanks and overflow fishwater is available at the Moringa Orchard. 
Melon Area - Watermelons, cantelop and other melons grown here.  Main purpose is to reduce heat into the greenhouse.
Small Tree and Bush Orchard (single row) -  Barbados Cherries (Acerola), Cinnamon trees and others.
BunnyMobile -  Small mobile cage for bunnies. Moved daily and used to fertilize the small tree orchard(14).
Chicken LoveMobile - Small mobile cage for a rooster and 8 hens used to produce fertilized eggs for the incubator with a goal of  at least 30 chicks per month.  The LoveMobile is moved daily below the citris orchard.

The middle 1/3 acre
Farm Plan middle section

Shade Cage -  A 6m x 6m (20ft x 20ft) cage made with 50% shade cloth.  The Shade cloth is used to reduce temperatures and allow vegetables to be grown that are not easily grown in the tropics but that are in demand by restaurants, resorts and other customers.  The inside of each cage is a keyhole design of raised beds.  There are 8 cages total.  Three cages are used for fast growing/harvested vegetables and will be on 2-4 weeks successions.  Four cages will be used for slower growing or longer producing vegetables like indeterminate tomatoes and will be on a one month succession.  The final cage will be used for testing new crops and varieties as well as seed-collecting. The vegetables are intercropped to reduce pest insect pressure by using a modified version of square foot gardening we call Arm´s Reach gardening (using 2ft x 2ft squares).
Herb Moat - A one meter border around each cage which consists of Marigolds, herbs and garlic.  Designed to repel or confuse pest insects and attract pollinators as well as cash crops.  We are currently planning on growing 23 different varieties of herbs and with the shade cloth cage, have the ability to put heat-intolerant herbs on the north side of the cage to reduce temperatures.  This will allow us to grow herbs and varieties of garlic not readily available in Nicaragua.
Root tower -  These are 1 meter high towers of soil used to grow crops that produce deep root products such as potatoes, yucca, quequisque, sweet potatoes and ginger.  The tower makes it much easier to harvest and fertilize the crops.  There are 8 towers, which will have a 1 month succession.
Flowers and Kiwi - These are rows of flowers to act as a barrier to prevent pest insects from traveling from one shade cage to another.  In the middle of each row are kiwi vines.  The flowers we are growing are edible varieties that are valued by chefs at high-end restaurants.
Moringa Trees and Comfrey -  Appx 1500 moringa trees and 1200 comfrey.  The plan is to harvest about 16 moringa trees and 12 comfrey plants each day.  The moringa is sold as leaves and powder and used to feed fish, chickens and rabbits.  The comfrey is used for chop-n-drop compost and for vermicompost.   After the daily harvest, those plants will be watered using fishwater from the Tilapia pond.  Both Moringa and Comfrey grow extremely fast, so the idea is that by harvesting 1/90 of the total crops per day, by the time we cycle back in 90 days, the Moringa and Comfrey will be regrown.

The Southern 1/3 acre ( appx 20m x 70m)
southern part of design.

Papaya Circles -  Each circle contains 8 papaya trees, Approximately 40 trees total.  Papayas are a low value crop in Nicaragua, will mainly be grown for the Pulperia, residents, chickens, rabbits and biomass for vermiculture.
Banana Circles - Similar to Papaya, Bananas are very cheap and not worth transporting to sell.  They will be used similar to Papaya but with the added bonus that bananas and banana peels are high in potassium and phosphorus and so are greatly valued in compost. Also bananas make fast and easy snacks for the kids. The papaya and Banana plants also make excellent hunting grounds for the free-range chickens.
Broiler Chicken Free Range Area -  Each area (21a and 21b) will have appx 30 chickens for 60 days.  Our broilers will go to 90 days, 30 in the brooder and 60 in their free-range area.  We are using Peanut Grass as our ground cover.  Peanut grass is high in nutrients, fixes nitrogen in the soil and propagates using underground seeds and runners (similar to strawberries) which make it hardy against chickens.  USDA free range recommendations suggest 300 square feet per chicken, we are giving them 4400 each.  The chickens benefit the banana, moringa and papaya trees by providing fertilizer and by eliminating pest insects.
Layer Chicken Free Range Area - There will be 100 hens in these two areas that will be alternated daily. So for instance today the hens will be in 22a, tomorrow in 22b, and then the next day in 22a again.  This is done to encourage the hens not to find outside nests, but instead return to the coop to lay eggs.  Again the recommendation is for 300 square feet of free-range area, we are giving them 5000.
Layer Chicken Coop -  Designed with roll-out egg collectors to keep eggs clean and protect them from being broken.  Also with rainwater collection and automatic watering system.  The hens will have access to the coop area and one free-range area each day.
Bee Hives -  We are starting with 4 hives, two on each side.  Studies have shown a 20% increase in vegetable and fruit production when bee hives are located on the property.  The hives will contain two brood boxes and a super.  The duckweed area of the Tilapia pond will be built to be bee-friendly (slanted edges).  Aside from the increased fruit and vegetable production, obviously honey is a valuable product to sell.
Mature Moringa Trees - The Moringa trees ( a single line of 24 trees ) in this area will not be pruned as aggressively as the trees in the moringa orchard and instead will be used for pod production.  Moringa seed pods can grow to be 1 or 2 feet long, are abundant and high in protein.  Each Moringa tree is a huge source of food.

If you would like to support our project, you can make a donation here.

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