Shutka Food Garden is set up to establish a sustainable local food garden, which will engage the community to provide them with supplementary food and skills. It is a very exciting new project that Fuel Macedonia is partnering with by providing initial grants to help get it up and running and ongoing support for the continuation of the project. We are particularly excited to be partnering with a long-term and sustainable project that has the potential to address local needs.
“Shutka” is the local name for Šuto Orizari, one of the ten municipalities that make up the city of Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia. It is the only known Roma-run, Roma (Romani) majority, municipality in Macedonia and is situated on the northern outskirts of the city. It was set up after the 1963 earthquake to relocate Roma who had been made homeless. It is now the poorest neighbourhood in Skopje with very high unemployment.
A 40m greenhouse, funded by the British Embassy, has been built to provide all year round growing for essential vegetables and salads. Area has been included to house a plant 'nursery' for the next generation. Different growing methods are being used to educate those involved. The picture shows traditional and Dutch Bucket growing systems. They also have hydroponics in place. Once the project is in full flow they hope to produce a closed circle loop whereby they compost any waste and maintain 'no-dig' raised beds. In addition to these methods inside the greenhouse, potatoes, maise and winter squash are being cultivated : outside along with fruit trees.
The Project Leaders' vision is to hand the Food Garden over to trained locals who can not only manage the garden on a day-to-day basis, but train others in the growing methods to provide food for themselves. They currently have a Roma guy looking after the Food Garden and who is being trained to manage it.
The Leaders also wish to replicate the model in other areas in Macedonia (Phase 2).
Jan 2021 - The Project Leaders apply to the British embassy for funding
FM hear of the Project and agree to an initial set-up grant
FM agree to look at financially partnering with the Project
Feb-Mar 2021 - FM site visits: Greenhouse under construction
May 2021 - FM agree to joint monthly support of the project
June 2021 - First crops
June 16th - Official 'Open Day' with the British Embassy staff in attendance
July 2021 - Local man employed, and being trained, to manage the Garden
Photos from the Open Day taken by Esther van Niekerk and Zvonko Micev (2021) and used with their permission