ECHOcommunity Updates

Paper Mulch as Soil Covering and Environmental Conservation 2015-05-19

Mulch is a protective covering of organic material laid over the soil around plants to prevent erosion, retain moisture, and to enrich soil. Paper mulch, made of magazines, boxes and other paper materials, is laid on top of traditional materials such as grass, fruit peels and leaves. This technology is especially appropriate in dry areas where water is not sufficient because it helps to control water loss.

Demmy Lucas is an entrepreneur in Arusha-Tanzania and one of the recipients of a PICO grant offered by ECHO East Africa. Demmy uses paper mulch to control weeds, improve soil fertility, and control moisture in her plot where she plants lemongrass.

Originally, Demmy planted maize in her plot, but the yield was poor because she was giving away the maize trash after harvesting. By mulching the maize trash back into her field she was able to marginally increase her production.  When she started spice processing, she planted lemongrass on the same plot to minimize the cost of buying it from the market. 

On a suggestion from an ECHO Intern, Brian Lawrence, who was staying with her family at the time, she began to use paper mulch before adding other trash. Her plot’s yield in lemongrass tripled, and she found an added ecological benefit in putting paper litter to use in her field.

Demmy said; “As an entrepreneur, I wish to spread this knowledge of paper mulch to other people especially families/farmers with small plots in order to conserve environments and at the same time increase their yield in their small plots since the soil will be fertile and moisture well controlled. With increased field, families/farmers will reduce hunger and malnutrition in the community”.

Additional Resources

Sustainable Agriculture: Chapter 12 - Mulching

ECHO Asia Notes: Gardening Without Digging

ECHO Gardening Hints: No-Till Gardening

Note

This method was popularized by Ruth Stout in her book "The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book: Secrets of the Famous Year-Round Mulch Method"– August, 1971 (Out of Print)

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Tropical Agricultural Development I: The Basics
Mon, 1 June 2015 » Fri, 5 June 2015

ECHO Campus, United States

Those interested in preparing for short/long-term involvement in agricultural development internationally  are encouraged to participate in this one-week course held four times a year. Course participants will gain an introduction to aspects of poverty and community development and an orientation to ECHO. They will also receive instruction on proven agricultural principles/practices and practical techniques, systems and technologies to meet agricultural and nutritional needs of small-scale, i...

Tropical Agricultural Development II - Gardening in the Tropics
Mon, 22 June 2015 » Fri, 26 June 2015

ECHO Campus, United States

This intermediate class is geared toward experienced overseas workers with involvement in agricultural development or those who have participated in Tropical Agricultural Development I. This is a week-long course offered which includes a combination of small classroom instruction, hands-on work on the farm, visits with staff, and study in the library. Much of the course content is presented from a biblical perspective. Who should take this course: Those who wi...

Tropical Agricultural Development I: The Basics
Mon, 27 July 2015 » Fri, 31 July 2015

ECHO Campus, United States

Course Description: Those interested in preparing for short/long-term involvement in agricultural development internationally  are encouraged to participate in this one-week course held four times a year. Course participants will gain an introduction to aspects of poverty and community development and an orientation to ECHO. They will also receive instruction on proven agricultural principles/practices and practical techniques, systems and technologies to meet agricultural and nutritional nee...

Tropical Agriculture Development II: Appropriate Technology
Mon, 17 August 2015 » Fri, 21 August 2015

ECHO Campus, United States

This intermediate class is geared toward experienced overseas workers with involvement in agricultural development or those who have participated in Tropical Agricultural Development I. This is a week-long course offered at the ECHO farm in North Fort Myers, Florida. Course attendees will participate in an in-depth look at new and different subjects that will be announced after the first of the year. This course is a combination of small classroom instruction, hands-on work on the farm, visit...

ECHO Asia Agriculture and Community Development Conference
Tue, 6 October 2015 » Fri, 9 October 2015

Holiday Garden Hotel, Thailand

The 5th Biennial ECHO Asia Agriculture and Community Development Conference will be happening from October 6-9, 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The theme for this conference will be “Equipping Workers.” ECHO Asia is looking forward to bringing together a wide and diverse assemblage of NGO workers, agriculture missionaries, development agents, farmers, and organizations from across Asia for a time of mutual learning and encouragement that will bring forth an abundance of practical ap...

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