Tiyeni has from the outset sought to spread the word by training farmers to set up demonstration farms, so that other farmers in the community become impressed by the results and take up these practices. However, we found that although these demonstration farms work very well at first, they sometimes caused unexpected socio-economic tensions in the longer term.
In 2015 we changed our model to a decentralised version, to make all the farmers in a trainer group part of the demonstration. We call this the Decentralised Demonstration Garden approach.
For each training session, a different farmer’s land is used, in a carefully designed sequence over the season, in which different elements of the Tiyeni method are introduced. They therefore all work in each other’s’ farms, share best practice, solve problems together, and end up comparing and caring for each other’s farms. In our experience so far, this has resulted not only in better crops, but also a more cohesive community grouping.