Underlying Principles
Underlying Principles
Farming on Crutches seeks to farm in tune with nature, without chemicals and as far as possible without debt - based on the principles of agro-ecology and permaculture. The compelling benefits from training and supporting the changemakers in these practices focused on community localization and revitalization are that;
  • It enhances food security and human health whilst reducing financial risks
  • It eliminates the need for synthetic fertilisers and plant protection chemicals
  • It protects the forests from deforestation and reduces erosion
  • It rebuilds habitats to preserve biodiversity and aids in sequestering carbon
  • It provides new economic opportunities for both amputees and whole-bodied people and increases the attractiveness of the rural areas as a place to live and earn a living.
The principles underlying Farming on Crutches are the same as those espoused by the Asian Rural Institute (ARI) – namely to build an environmentally healthy, just and peaceful world. ARI’s concept of Foodlife enlightens participants’ understanding of Sustainable Agriculture. Every day, they practice integrated farming, making and using organic fertiliser, managing pests with local materials and using appropriate technologies to protect the ecological system of the living soil for future generations and to have ownership over their Foodlife. ARI’s principles are summarised below and are broadly in line with those of Agroecology and Permaculture (see boxes below). As can be seen below, Farming on Crutches addresses all of the sustainable development goals that are relevant to farming and rural life.
The Principles of Sustainable Agriculture, as taught at the Asian Rural Institute are: Organic Farming, Crops and Vegetables, Livestock, Disease Control of Crops and Vegetables, Disease Control of Livestock, Dangers of Chemical Farming, Natural Farming in Tropical Areas, Agroforestry, Alternative Marketing Systems , Biogas Practical Field Study: Crops & Vegetables Emphasis: Bokashi fertilizer making, compost fish amino acid, water-soluble Calcium, water-soluble Calcium and Phosphate, wood vinegar, charcoal making, rice husk charcoal, seed collection, seedling nursing using soil blocks, mushroom cultivation. Livestock: Pigs (artificial insemination, delivery, castration), Chicken (brooding, hatching), Fish, livestock health, feed formulation, fermented feed, animal raising with fermented floor. Meat Processing: Sausage and ham-making. Field Management Activities: Group management of crops and vegetables field and livestock; Foodlife Work (Foodlife-related activities for self- sufficiency): Group leadership system.
Bokashi Technology
A fundamental element of this approach is Bokashi – a form of composting which makes use of green and brown waste and other organic together with micro- organisms – in Sierra Leone collected from forest soils - to produce an effective source of nutrients and soil improvement. To learn more about the making of Bokashi, both on our farm and on other farms around the world, watch this webinar in which Mambud is the second speaker.
Agroecology is sustainable farming that works with nature. Ecology is the study of relationships between plants, animals, people and their environment – and the balance between these relationships. It is the application of ecological concepts and principles in farming and is defined by the FAO as a holistic and integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agriculture and food systems. It seeks to optimise the interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment while also addressing the need for socially equitable food systems within which people can exercise choice over what they eat and how and where it is produced. Agroecology is currently a science, a set of practices and a social movement and has evolved as a concept over recent decades to expand in scope from a focus on fields and farms to encompass the entirety of agriculture and food systems. It now represents a trans-disciplinary field that includes the ecological, socio-cultural, technological, economic and political dimensions for food systems through from food production to consumption.

The absolute focus is on building the capacity for sustainable self-sufficiency from the land.


As for (1) above.

Good health and wellbeing

The course includes nutrition, physical exercise and there are moves to help with prosthetic limbs.

Quality education

The course addresses the basic principles of agroecology and farming with nature.

Gender equality

The course is open to both men and women.

Clean water and sanitation

The farm training centre has a well with clean water as well as private toilets.

Affordable and clean energy

The centre has solar panels to provide lighting and the pumping of water to tanks for trickle irrigation.

Decent work and economic growth

The trainees leave the course with the tools and seeds needed to start farming on their own.

Industry and innovation infrastructure

Not really applicable but also as (8) above.

Reduced inequality

The course provides the opportunity for otherwise marginalised people to participate as equals.

Sustainable cities and communities

Contributes directly to the building of sustainable rural communities.

Responsible consumption & production

Participants leave with the capacity to farm sustainability and with little need for any external inputs.

Climate action

There is a strong focus on working with nature, on not using chemicals and on nurturing biodiversity.

Life below water

Not applicable here.

Life on land/ecosystems

A total focus on working with nature, the making of Bokashi and the sustaining of ecosystems.

Peace, justice and strong institutions

Working with nature is a vital element of building peace and before all elections the amputees actively promote peace – through their physical disability reminding others of the horrors of war.

Partnerships for the goals

Farming on Crutches is building partnerships with a number of organisations that share its vision.