Takaungu Escape, a 38 acre coastal farm 60kms north of Mombasa, contains tall coconut, mango and giant cashew nut trees growing amid spacious open grassland. The land is organically farmed, practicing biodynamic methods to grow vegetables, coconuts, mangoes, cashews and guavas. Bees are kept in traditional hollow tree trunks providing honey and kapok trees provide the filling fibre for our pillows and mattresses. A herd of cows keep the grass short, fertilize the land and provide milk whilst Kangas (Guinea Fowl) keep the numbers of small insects low and provide us with eggs.
The Shamba is "off-grid". Solar energy is used for lighting, charging devices and running the pump from a 25 metre well.
Individual visitors or groups with special interest in organic farming will be supported by our staff and tools and materials are provided. A choice of accommodation is available. Participation in our daily Shamba life is welcome, meals are shared or individually prepared.
Biodynamic agriculture is a form of alternative agriculture very similar to organic farming, but it treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated tasks. In common with other forms of organic agriculture, biodynamic agriculture uses management practices that are intended to restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.
Biodynamic farming emphasizes the use of manures and composts and excludes the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include its treatment of animals, crops and soil as a single system, an emphasis from its beginnings on local production and distribution systems, its use of traditional and development of new local breeds and varieties.
How our waterless, urine-diverting composting toilet works
We constructed the simple toilet system after learning that most of the nutrients in human excrement — as much as 90 percent of the nitrogen and half of the phosphorus — are in urine alone. We saw an opportunity to capture free fertilizer and solve a problem at the same time.
The toilet consists of a wooden bench with a regular toilet seat and an opening to which a trimmed funnel is attached to drain urine into a jerrycan. Solids (feces, toilet paper and any wood shavings to reduce odors) drop to a plastic bin. When the bin fills up, we cap it with a perforated lid, let it season for a year before it joins the garden compost. The resulting super-nutricious soil is then used to build up the soil around fruit trees and vegetable beds. As for the urine, it’s composted with woody material or poured onto well-mulched and well-watered garden beds.
Is it safe to use urine this way? Most pathogens we excrete are in feces. Urine is almost always pathogen free. Any trace pathogens get deactivated as the urine ages. Some experts say one month of aging is sufficient for a household’s urine used on its own garden, while six months is advised for urine from combined sources. If applying directly to plants, you must dilute it with eight parts water to one part urine to avoid burning plant roots.