Back to the roots – fight against micronutrient deficit

Short description

Under the motto “Back to the roots”, we combine locality with innovation. The aim is an independent supply of vegetables to the communities by the creation of community gardens and hydroponics.

The problem we aim to solve

Our proposed solution is aimed primarily at children who suffer from various forms of hidden hunger due to malnutrition during their infancy or the pregnancy of their mothers. Our focus is on giving people access to ideas for a more diverse diet. The aim is to combat micronutrient deficiencies and their serious consequences such as susceptibility to diseases, disturbance of mental development, or “stunting” (growth disorders due to micronutrient deficiencies), especially for children.

Our solution

Many people have no access to fresh vegetables due to crop failures, poor infrastructure, high prices and lack of land. To empower communities for self-sufficiency, cultivation should be realized through a hydroponic method, for which no soil and therefore no fertile land area is necessary. Through cultivation in the sense of “Back to the Roots”, self-determined communities should be strengthened. Women will have the opportunity to take over the management of the community gardens and to contribute to the healthy nutrition of their community and especially their children. The hydroponic community gardens are designed as a center in which visitors can gain new knowledge through workshops and events for example on how to set up a hydro home gardening system. The project has the potential to expand through networking and produce more offshoots as the community gardens provide each other with the initial facilities of knowledge and plants.

The second part of our project is designed to change the minds of people in Uganda, as unhealthy foods are often preferred. Since the Ugandan and East African cuisine has much to offer and contains many micronutrient-rich vegetables we want to bring traditional dishes back to the table. At cooking events, women can try out dishes and exchange ideas. In addition, Ugandan artists and idols should act as ambassadors for a healthy diet e.g. at cooking events that take place as part of a performance or concert and through various media channels.

The innovativeness of our approach

To work out an innovative and human-centered concept we applied the design thinking method, which allows a systematic approach to such complex problems. The idea of growing vegetables using hydroponics is particularly innovative. This cultivation method requires less water and no own fertile ground. Furthermore, people can be shown how to increase the bioavailability of micronutrients in legumes by germination. The local approach is also new, as it is oriented towards the given structures and habits.

Technologies and Methods

Our concept is based on a hydroponic cultivation method in which plants thrive in water instead of soil. The nutrients are added in liquid form and can be absorbed better and faster by the plants. The water consumption and the infestation by pests are lower here than in conventional cultivation. Further an appealing face-to-face communication and education on multiple media channels such as radio are planned.

Potential Partners

  • stadtgarten Bluepinguin e.V.
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hydrokultur e.V.
  • Universität Bayreuth
  • Hydroponics Uganda
  • Dr. Emma Naluyima
  • Kenya Climate Innovation Center (CIC)
  • National Association of Women’s Organizations in Uganda (NAWOU)
  • Deena
  • El Seed Art Foundation
  • Ikea


Voting ends on June 24, 2018, 11:59 pm (CEST).

Back to the roots - fight against micronutrient deficit

Team: Christina Weidele

Sarah Schmoll

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