A sustainable vegetable garden in the arid demilitarized zone between Sudan and South Sudan brings relief to workers supporting the peacekeeping mission.

At the remote end of the supply chain, Agility’s GCC Services team of 105 expats and local staff supplies international peacekeepers with food and bottled water that is trucked hundreds of miles from the Port of Sudan to the mission in Abyei, Sudan.

Desperate for a quiet respite and something fresh to eat in a conflict zone, GCC personnel built a composting operation to turn kitchen waste into fertilizer and began bringing seeds back to Abyei when they returned from leave. The result is a lush, pesticide-free garden of herbs, vegetables and fruit.

The Abyei kitchen garden has yielded large quantities of nutritious beans, peas, jackfruit, guava, lemons, bananas, cassava, tomatoes, aubergines, cucumber, okra, watermelon, lettuce, coriander and other produce.

“This sounds like a small thing, but it’s not. Conditions in Abyei are austere, and the workdays are very long,” says Rashad Sinokrot, CEO of GCC Services. “The kitchen garden has created shade and greenery where there isn’t much of either. It’s been a stress reliever and teambuilder, and demonstrated that you can do something sustainable in a very harsh environment.”