Kenya Indigenous Terra Madre Network: Looking Towards the Future

By Francisco Prieto

Hot on the heels of the International Council meeting in Kenya, the youth of the Slow Food Indigenous Terra Madre network held a meeting and workshop to analyze the challenges facing indigenous communities in Kenya, and to discuss possible solutions and strategies for encouraging and “empowering indigenous youth to defend and promote their food heritage.” The initiative has been launched thanks to a new Slow Food and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) grant, which is aimed at strengthening the ITM network, and specifically the youth network, towards 2020.

From the start, it was clear that awareness building was going to be an important factor for the Indigenous Terra Madre network in Kenya. Community events, network growth, youth engagement, and expressing the very essence of the Slow Food movement were all raised as areas for discussion.

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In order to ensure that all participants had the opportunity to express themselves clearly and voice their opinions, groups were formed to allow everyone to speak in their native language. These groups delved into the challenges facing each of their communities, and what the ITM network could do to help.

The idea of this morning session was to set an agenda, while the afternoon was dedicated to setting the program for the future. As the questions and comments came out in the morning talks, both in general discussion and in the groups, the challenges and issues facing the ITM network in Kenya came to the surface. After lunch, it was time to address these issues and find solutions and paths towards them, creating a clear and achievable strategy for 2020.

As one of the major results of the event, the participants agreed on a network facilitator. Margaret Tunda Lepore, a Maasai youth, was chosen as facilitator, with a first task of presenting the strategy at Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, in Turin, later this year. Self-effacing in her acceptance of the role, Ms. Tunda Lepore spoke of the training and the impact of the day’s discussion beyond the four walls of the conference room “this knowledge is not for me, it is meant for my people: I will go back and pass on the knowledge that I have learned here.” Her nomination was supported by the network’s elders, who pledged to support and advise her wherever possible, demonstrating ITM Kenya’s commitment to build on its youth.

IMG_20180621_180644-768x576Margaret Tunda

The strategy in question took a number of hours to define, as the points made during the earlier discussion were addressed one by one. Among the steps for the future, youth engagement was a major theme, and the network will work to increase youth interest and participation (such as creating stronger ties between the Indigenous youth and SFYN Kenya), while training and education, and network growth more generally, were also highlighted as priorities. Additionally, a plan was put in place to raise the network’s standing within the Slow Food movement, by nominating more Ark of Taste products and encouraging participation in future events.

The meeting broke important ground and was overall a success, auguring well for the future of the network.

Alongside members of the ITM network, Slow Food International, Slow Food Kenya, and SFYN representatives attended the event. The collaboration was greatly positive for strengthening the network, and ensured a shared strategy, backed by all divisions of the Slow Food movement in the country.

Despite the clear positives, the meeting also demonstrated that there is a long road ahead for the network in Kenya. Aside from needs to educate and grow the network, the communities involved face many hurdles beyond their control. Having to battle droughts and climate change, rampant pesticide use, and constant attacks on biodiversity (introduction of foreign species that are not hardy enough, and drain the communities’ resources), all while dealing with poor infrastructure, (in some cases without electricity) within a climate of land grabbingconflict and deforestation, make the task ahead of Kenya’s ITM network all the more arduous. This will be no discouragement, however, and driven by its capable and determined members, and bolstered by the solidarity and support of the whole of Slow Food, the Kenyan Indigenous Terra Madre network will succeed and grow into a formidable branch of our organisation.

A Visit to Ogiek Community

5/18/2018

Marioshoni

Beatrix McCarthyMarioshoni pic

 

Over the past few days I have visited several local farmlands throughout Nakuru County. One indigenous community whose practices striked me as particularly unique and breathtaking were the farmers harvesting honey within the Ogiek community in Marioshoni. My colleagues and I were taken what seemed to be deep into the Mau Forest, an area which has provided shelter, a source of identity, income, and generational pride to this community for hundreds of years. From what I was told by the two brothers who were living in this forest is that their land has been under threat by the Kenyan government claiming that this local community imposes environmental hazards to the surrounding land. Without doubt, and without surprise, it is the government who is acting in their own self-interest for economic gains.

Being surrounded by 50 Ft cedar trees — also known as Mutarakwa is very different from the big city landscape I am accustomed to. These indigenous trees serve many beneficial purposes for the Ogiek community — for example they offer rich nutrients to this affluent forest and soil, as well as providing a home for the bees who supply heavenly and luscious honey. This honey is then exported to nearby communities, and is also enjoyed by those within their own population and outside guests. Very high up in several of the trees were logs which we came to learn function as the homes for the bees. Clearly a honey harvesting master, one of the brothers began the process by starting a fire with 2 sticks, and a ball of moss (something I thought only happened in movies)! He then proceeded to climb up this 50 Ft tall cedar tree using a large branch, his hands, feet, and upper body strength. Once in contact with the beehive, he used his self-made fire ball as a tool to ward off the bees and collect fresh honey for us! Although the smoke proved to be very effective, he seemed completely unbothered by the ward of bees clinging on to him, as he simply shook them off.

Once back on the ground, he held in his hand several honeycombs which he then offered us to eat right then and there! This offering made me completely rethink the term farm to table (FTT), as I was witnessing this concept firsthand, and without elitist motives that many western FTT establishments hold. Words cannot describe the richness of this honey as I ate it off the comb standing in the Mau forest with people who live, and have lived there for generations.

Directly after this incredibly humbling and beautiful experience, we were welcomed into the Ogiek community. We were then briefed on the production of their honey, and given a step by step explanation which began with the placement of logs in the cedar trees, harvesting, and then followed by the very old school method — they have no access to electricity therefore honey batches are done in small quantities — of packaging, labeling, and finally distributing.

World Disco Soup day In Kenya

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Disco Soup started 6 years ago in Berlin, Germany, as Schnippeldisko, a ‘protest soup’, against food waste that fed 8000 people. From then on, it started to spread across the world as a fun, meaningful way to bring this crisis into focus. Many different editions have taken place. Each Disco Soup event was individually run, relying on local volunteers to organize every detail, until in 2016, the Slow Food Youth Network Brazil organized a national Disco Soup Day. So, why not do the same internationally? This team came together with the international network of food producers, activists, students and other food professionals and decided to organize the first World Disco Soup Day!

During this day, organizers, attendees, and chefs collect, chop, and cook leftover food or any food that would otherwise go to waste, such as ‘ugly’ food, the products which do not conform to commercial aesthetic standards. During the preparations, and for a long while after, music pump and everyone dances! It is a fun, gastronomic and musical event that brings together young people, students, children, seniors, cooks and all the supporters of this battle against food waste. It is also a transformation tool that brings together diverse knowledge for education and awareness.

Under the same, Slow Food Youth Network Kenya, has organized quite a good number of Disco Soups with a special focus on fight against food losses and waste that happens every year. From Kenya, Brazil to Netherlands and other countries worldwide, the links of the global Slow Food network joined forces on 28th of April 2018, to fight food waste. Slow Food Youth Network Kenya decided to take action against global food losses and waste by organizing World Disco Soup event at St. Ann Children’s home (that comprised of 50 children aging between 9 months- 15 years who are orphans) in Gilgil Sub- County. Together we cleaned, peeled, chopped, cooked and ate the food that was collected to fill bellies instead of the bins or left to rot in the fields or on road sides under the theme, “Share food stop waste!” This did not only bring a smile on the children’s faces but also filled their bellies as well as a big reminder that there are people of good will that remember them beyond the walls of their home.

During the talks/speeches a number of things on food waste and simple solutions were pointed out, that could be adopted as we intensify this fight. One, we do believe that by sharing food with the less fortunate people in the society could be one way to stop food losses and waste as well as being a Blessing to them. As one said:

“Two birds with one stone. @SFYN, this is the perfect example of how the youth can play an important part in enhancing food security- by helping provide food for the less fortunate and reducing food waste at the same time. Keep it up guys, you are truly an inspiration. #sharefoodstopwaste#worlddiscosoupday!”  

Route to Food commented on our SFYN Kenya facebook page.

We also thought of calling upon the County governments together with National government to forge way forward that will help the rural poor who are mainly food producers, to have proper ways to handle their harvests (in developing countries, food losses happens due to poor harvesting methods, poor storage and handling) as well as assisting them to come up with value addition facilities that may help them to minimize perishable food losses and waste. We could not forget the consumers who also take part in this mess of food wastage. We called upon them to mind their purchases. Purchasing food according to the plan minimizes food waste because the food is finished before going bad. Last but not least, we called upon our supermarkets to share food (whose expiry dates are near) with the needy to avoid this food finding its way to the bins.

As Jobu Kym commented on our SFYN Kenya facebook page, Feels like you guys should bring your campaign in the US where 60% of cooked food ends up in the garbage disposal… This is where real food waste is” I believe that little actions with time wherever we are will surely help to minimize or even stop food waste for good. Let’s keep working towards winning this global challenge. Spread the word and act!

 

Terra Madre Salone Del Gusto 2018

Organized by Slow Food, the Region of Piedmont and the City of Turin, Terra Madre Salone del Gusto will be taking over Turin from September 20 to 24, 2018.

“Food for Change” is the guiding theme of this 12th edition of the world’s most important event dedicated to good, clean and fair food, from the program of conferences and Taste Workshops to the immense Market to the Terra Madre Forums where farmers and food artisans from around the world will be gathering.

 

Food for change is the revolution we want to launch in preparation for this upcoming event. In 1996, Slow Food organized the first-ever Salone del Gusto in Turin to support small-scale, artisanal, quality food production as it struggled to compete in the global market. In 2018 the aim is to get co-producers to play an even more active role in the production process. How? By inviting everyone to participate, and reflect. As consumers we are used to seeing ourselves as the last link in the chain, making us increasingly inclined to simply accept whatever the market wants to palm off on us. The reality is that the market is us, and we can (and must) shape it ourselves, with our choices. This is the invitation made by Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2018: to think about our buying decisions and use food to bring about necessary change to ensure our planet’s future, contributing to constructing a food system that is better, fairer and cleaner. We have the chance to be informed and to choose, the simplest and most powerful tool, available to all. Because when we decide what to eat and how, we are also deciding what kind of economy to support, what relationships to prioritize, if and how we want to protect natural resources and the environment, if and how we want to defend the rights of workers and our own health. Without forgetting that a food produced in an environmentally friendly way, with respect for the dignity of its producers, is also more beautiful and delicious.

In addition to the main theme of Food for Change, Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2018 will also open a window onto the policies of the Slow Food movement, as defined during the International Congress in Chengdu last September. The most important relates to the desperate and largely unheard warnings about global warming, which demand action from all of us. We have mobilized scientists, experts and farmers around this urgent issue, and #foodforchange is also the theme of Slow Food’s campaign to help everyone understand what food they should choose in order to reverse the trends of a food system with heavy impacts on the environment, society and human health.

Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2018 will once again take over many locations around the city of Turin, as well as spreading out into the surrounding region of Piedmont. We will be calling on all of Turin and Piedmont to participate even more fully in the event this year, inviting individuals, organizations, associations and any other interested parties to contribute their own initiative to the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2018 program.

The program will feature more than 900 exhibitors, Slow Food Presidia producers and food communities from over 100 countries who visitors can meet during the five days of the event. Additionally, 7,000 Terra Madre delegates from 143 countries will be participating in seminars, meetings and debates, making our event truly unique.

The Market will return to the Lingotto Fiere pavilions, along with some of the Terra Madre network activities, while others will be held in the city centre. The conferences are being organized together with Turin’s Circolo dei Lettori, while the Taste Workshops, offering in-depth explorations of specific foods and beverages guided by their producers, will be hosted in the Palazzo della Giunta Regionale in Piazza Castello. The Enoteca, meanwhile, will be held once again in the splendid setting of the Palazzo Reale.

The full Terra Madre Salone del Gusto program will be released in June following an official presentation. Meanwhile regular updates can be found on www.salonedelgusto.it

#foodforchange #terramadre #terramadre2018

Innovate or urbanites will perish from hunger

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As people move from rural areas to towns in search of better opportunities, accelerating urbanisation brings new challenges. According to predictions from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United States (FAO), we will house almost 5 billion people in our urban centres by 2030. More people in urban areas mean that more food must be provided. Feeding this population calls for innovation and commitments to improving food and nutritional demands.

The forthcoming 9th World Urban Forum ‘“Cities 2030, Cities for All: Implementing the New Urban Agenda”, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, by UN-Habitat must go out of its ways and come up with concrete actions to ensure we have enough food for the growing urban populations.

A matter of urgency

Indeed, I believe that urban food security especially in Africa, should be placed high on the New Urban Agenda. It is a matter of life and death. According to the authors of the book For Hunger-proof Cities: Sustainable Urban Food Systems, an estimated 35,000 people around the world die each day from hunger and an even larger number of people (mainly women and children and the elderly) suffer from malnutrition.

Overall, the New Urban Agenda needs to charter in a new food security narrative.

The international development community too often solely focuses on small farmer agricultural productivity in rural Africa, but these are no longer just rural concerns.

They are serious urban problems requiring immediate attention, new discourse, innovative solutions and financial support. Sustainable urban food ecosystem needs to be at the front of the agenda, including how we grow it, how we sell it and how we cook it.

One area that the New Urban Agenda could focus on are traditional food crops and the future of harnessing that to provide the required nutritional values for the growing urban centres.

The 10,000 gardens in Africa Initiative, promoted by the SlowFood movement, has an objective of creating 10,000 gardens across the continent. Kenya is leading so far, with 368 gardens of the 3,000 gardens established across the continent to date.

The SlowFood movement also works on the mobilization of a network of young African leaders dedicated to preserving biodiversity, traditional knowledge and food culture like pumpkin (malenge), and small-scale agriculture. The movement ‘s Ark of Taste, an online catalogue of indigenous food that are getting extinct, has over 2,500 products.

Under this programme and directory, my favourite malenge, the Lare pumpkin from Njoro in Nakuru, is one selected crop. It is under serious threat of extinction due to a bad reputation for a long time, including when I was growing up, even though it has many uses.

It has a high yield, with both fruit and the leaves being edible, it adapts to extreme arid conditions, and its mulch for the soils and provides food for the bees. The leaves are used as a vegetable in many dishes such as ‘kimito’, a dish of pumpkin leaves, potatoes and broad beans.

Due to its highly nutritious properties, it is used in making light food for infants and the elderly. It is used to make a juice, and the seeds are edible when boiled or dried and milled to make a flour used in porridge and for medicinal purposes.

The dying pumpkin

Due to its resilience, this pumpkin can be tailored for urban hedges and roof gardening, and provide the much-needed relief of the looming urban food insecurity. Bringing this crop back from near-extinction could help reduce food shortages.

Indigenous and nutritious vegetables like the pigweed can play a role in feeding the urban populations. You now spot on our supermarket stores vegetables like ‘mchicha’ Amaranthus spp, ‘managu’ Solanum nigrum and ‘thageti’ Cleome gynandra, mainly supplied from the rural areas.

When I was growing up, most of these vegetables were wild. We could go down to the fields during the rainy seasons and just pick enough for the evening, with clear specifications to pick the sprouting ones before they develop flowers. Sometimes I almost thought they were wild herbs, with the bitterness and their sour taste.

From the wild to the

Three decades later these vegetables are now a luxury product and we get it at a premium in our cities, because of their scarcity. Urban authorities with the support of UN Habitat should focus on reclaiming such products under urban agriculture in a sustainable way.

This could be through vertical gardening and roof cropping to optimise food access. We are working with SlowFood movement to have them classified in the ‘ark of taste’.

These are examples of the innovative initiatives that can help solve the food shortage in urban areas. Indeed, they are critical.

Written by David Kuria for the standard newspaper. He is the leader of Slow Food Nairobi, Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow and a PhD researcher on project management in Kenya

Dark days for Kenya’s nomadic herders

The Bisanadi National Reserve is a wildlife reserve in Isiolo County, Kenya, adjacent to the Meru National Park, home to lions, elephants, cheetahs, white rhinoceros, buffalos and over 400 species of bird.

Water for the animals is provided by the Tana Rojewero rivers, though a recent drought has put great pressure on animals and people alike. The scarce availability of water for nomadic herding communities which live outside the park has driven these indigenous pastoralists, and their livestock, into the park, bringing them into conflict with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

Screenshot_2-698x385KWS helicopter buzzing pastoralists in Bisanadi National Reserve

In recent weeks the KWS has used helicopters to disperse herds and push pastoralists and their animals back out of the park, with the loss of thousands of cattle and goats that either escaped from their herders or were injured while running for safety. These livestock are untraceable, and many end up being eaten by the lions, cheetahs, and other predators in the park. A 15-year old boy was also killed during a stampede. The tension here is the same as in many other parts of Africa, where the laws governing natural parks and conservation areas do not take into account the historic presence of human beings, and thus indigenous peoples who have lived in harmony with their environment for centuries or millennia are evicted from their ancestral lands. For these communities, their animals are not simply a source of food, but an integral part of their culture as well as a primary source of income.

Much of Kenya’s land is national reserves and it is the birthplace of the modern safari

The recurrent and ravaging drought has pushed pastoralists not only onto National Reserves and National Parks but also into private lodges and conservation areas, creating further conflict. As traditional grazing lands are simultaneously being lost to climate change, land grabbing, wildlife conservation, cattle ranches, the government’s LAPSSET infrastructure project and mining industries, the consequences are straightforward and inevitable: pastoralists are forced to move or let their animals die. This puts indigenous peoples’ food security and well-being directly at risk. The issue garnered international headlines when the Italian-born Kenyan author and conservationist Kuki Gallman was shot at her ranch in April 2017, yet Africans are dying every day without any media attention. The link between climate change and conflict over land is not unique to Kenya, either. Climate change is already provoking geopolitical tensions across the continent, as we see in the case of Egypt and Ethiopia: the prospect of a new dam being constructed on the Nile in the latter country could ignite conflict with the former.

Amina Duba of the Indigenous Terra Madre network told us:

“We have always lived in harmony with wild animals; it was not the first time that herders have taken their animals inside the park. It is a tradition that has always been practiced in harmony with natural cycles. There have been many incidences where elephants, cheetahs or lions escaped from the park and made their way to our villages but we never killed any, but informed the KWS who then drove them back to the park. We fully understand the importance of wild animals as a source of tourism, but resources are not being shared fairly and we fail to understand why the park should be given priority at the expense of suffering communities.”

Indigenous communities are custodians of traditional knowledge, plant species and animal breeds that have enabled them to survive the test of time, and mechanisms must be put in place to ensure that their voices are heard. Amina’s community raises camels, donkeys, goats and theBorana cattle (on board the Ark of Taste), which has been kept by nomadic herders across northern Kenya and Ethiopia for centuries, though it is now under threat of extinction.

“Though there has been a little rain, which has provided temporary relief to the pastoralists, we call upon the national and county governments to intervene and find a lasting solution to the conflict between KWS and pastoralists.”

Slow Food Kenya is at the forefront in the fight to defend the rights of indigenous peoples. TheIndigenous Terra Madre Network provides a platform for exchange, learning and sharing of experiences which allows communities to discuss the challenges they are facing and find common solutions. The network will continue working with the affected communities to ensure that their cultural traditions are not eroded, fight against social and economic marginalization as well as land grabbing through the promotion of an indigenous food system that is good, clean and fair. Indigenous Terra Madre also strives to facilitate dialogue with relevant authorities with the aim of identifying and implementing measures to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, which is worsening each year.

Map: http://www.kenyasafari.com

 

Gardens, nettles…and sustainability!

“The way to do really big things is to do really small things, and grow them bigger”

Paul Graham

An Interview with Salome Njeri Mwangi, coordinator of the Slow Food Karirikania Family Garden in Kenya

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How did you discover Slow Food and for how long have you been involved in its activities?
I discovered Slow Food through an Ngo called NECOFA (Network for Eco-farming in Africa). This is when the Mau Forest Dried Nettle Presidium started. We were taken through several trainings on organic farming and garden management. This inspired me and I decided to start a Slow Food garden. I have been involved in Slow Food activities for almost six years.

Do you think that Presidia project is a model that can help in saving traditional foods that are disappearing and also help in strengthening the local economy? 
Yes, stinging nettle was in the verge of disappearance due to the deforestation of the Mau Forest. When I was a young girl, nettle was growing spontaneously in many forests across the country but this has become a thing of the past. Through the project we are ensuring the survival of this product by growing, eating, selling it and ensuring that the knowledge is passed from one generation to the next through involvement of children in the project. Through the project we have been teaching the community members on healthy eating. The project encouraged us to start a small fund (we give small loans to members of the producer group at a lower interest rate) which allows us to finance some of our activities in order to ensure their sustainability.

Your garden is one of the best in Kenya; what inspires you?
One of the things that has really inspired me is the training and support I have received from Slow Food, which has enabled me to grow food without any chemicals. I have also received several visitors from different organizations (both local and international) as recognition of the work that I am doing. I cannot forget the health benefits of growing food organically in my garden and the financial returns I get from the garden. I can’t remember the last time I bought food from outside.

How many people are involved and benefit from the garden both directly and  indirectly?
I have an extended family of about 30 people who benefit from the garden on regular basis. About 500 neighbors have benefited either by buying vegetables or coming for trainings. I have hosted 52 women group from Kuresoi North and South Kenya sub counties for exchange visits.

For how long have you been involved in farming activities? Is there any  difference since you came into contact with Slow Food?
I have been farming for the last 25 years but started organic farming five years ago when I started interacting with Slow Food. I have benefited a lot in terms of reduced cost of inputs such as fertilizers and other agrochemicals. I have also learnt a lot about marketing and I am now selling my produce in kilograms and not in bags as I used to do. This gives me a better return as I avoid being cheated by middlemen. I have also started multiplying my own seeds and the positive thing is that some research institutions are referring farmers to me for planting materials. Slow Food has opened the world for me.

How do you manage the soil fertility?
I use farmyard manure and compost.

I realize you have been comparing organic and inorganic fertilizers, have you  noticed any difference?
When I started my garden, some people thought that I was crazy and that I would fail. My neighbors believed that organic agriculture could not produce enough for my family and the market. At the beginning the yields were very low but as I continued adding manure to the soil the yields started increasing. By looking at the color of the soil now, you can tell that both the soil structure and fertility has improved and this is at a very low cost because I also keep cows, sheep and chicken. I use their droppings as manure. A part from the small demonstration garden I also have a bigger field when I practice what I experiment on the demo. I have set aside a small control plot to compare the two types of agriculture. From the results obtained so far I can tell that, with patience, organic agriculture is a viable solution.

You have been using natural pesticides, how so you prepare them?
Fighting pests and diseases has remained a challenge to many farmers but after participating in a number of trainings, I learnt how to make natural pesticides from locally available materials. I mix aloe vera, stinging nettles, pepper, garlic, “maigoya” (Plectranthus barbatus), Mexican marigold, “muchatha” (Vernonia lapsiopus), pyrethrum and molasses. I then pound and put them into 20 liters of water but this can vary based on the quantity required. The mixture is then put in an airtight container and left to rest for 14-21 days after which the concoction is ready for use. The resulting solution acts as fertilizer, fights blight and pests. I have now gone commercial and also trained other farmers. Biodiversity on the farm and insect repelling plants also help.

Where do you get your seeds? Do your save seeds? If yes, how?
I multiply and save my seeds in my store, which I also consider a seed bank. I ensure that the store is free from moisture and excess light to ensure that the quality of the seeds is not compromised.

The Kenyan government intends to lift the ban on GMOs, what do you think  about the move?
I find it a very big mistake. As a farmer I think that I have all that I need to produce food for both my family and for the market. Some of these innovations may bring about some diseases that are difficult to explain to us as human beings, animals and negatively affect our environment and soils. We can produce food differently.

How much of the overall yields do you use for own consumption and how  much do you sell?
I consume about 25 % of the total yields.

Karirikania family garden hosted the Nakuru County World Food    Celebration this year. Why did the organizers choose your garden?
They assessed around 40 farmers practicing sustainable agriculture in the County and I ended up at position one. They looked issues pertaining seed production, soil maintenance, community involvement and yields. According to the results, I was chosen due to my garden’s sustainable water harvesting and biodiversity, as well as the number of community members benefiting from the garden through training, and the fact that I produce my own inputs. Thanks to my commitment and the success of the event, I am now a member of “Nakuru County Agriculture Committee” representing small-scale farmers.

What other opportunities has the garden opened for you?
I have visited so many groups in and outside the country as a trainer and will be in Uganda in December this year for a training workshop and to share my experiences under the sponsorship of Nakuru County government.

Do you think we can feed our people by producing food sustainably?
I believe we can feed people if we all practice sustainable agriculture in our own small capacity. Biodiversity is also key in ensuring that communities are food secure. I am now able to produce more than some community members who are still using industrial methods.

What challenges do you face while carrying out sustainable farming?
Markets for organic products remain a challenge but with increases awareness about their benefits, the number of those willing to pay an extra coin for the products will increase. Sometimes the weather conditions are not predictable but we are learning how to cope with them. Crops diseases are also increasing some of which were not there before.

Being part of the 10,000 gardens in Africa project, what is the potential of this garden in bringing communities together in Karirikania?
The potential is immense, hundreds of my neighbors and community members have been trained on this garden and they are now replicating what they learn at their homes. I believe that this is the dream that Slow Food had when they launched the project. A food-secure Africa fed with good, clean and fair food and united communities that are ready to address their challenges together.

Have you ever been to Terra Madre? If yes, how was the experience?
Yes, I was at Terra Madre in 2012 and learnt a lot from other small-scale farmers. I am now practicing some of what I learnt in my garden. I also met chefs and realized the role they play in supporting small-scale famers like me.

What is your future plan and what message would you like to send out there about the importance of your activities with Slow Food?
I would like to expand my garden, continue diversifying the crops grown and train as many communities as possible. I would also like to urge Slow Food to continue creating more visibility through print and mass media. Communities should embrace sustainable agriculture as a means of ensuring that our lovely country is food-secure.