Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Slow Food Seed and Food Fair
Report from Samuel & Peris Nderitu, Directors of The Grow Biointensive Agriculture Centre of Kenya (G-BIACK)
G-BIACK, in partnership with Slow Food Kenya and Seed Savers, held a seed fair event earlier this summer in Muranga County. This event’s purpose was to create awareness among the small-holder farmers on the importance of embracing indigenous local seeds. These local seeds are resilient to the changing climatic conditions and are safer and more reliable than hybrid seeds.
G-BIACK staff explaining to the participants how to produce, multiply and save local seeds
This Slow Food Seed and Food Fair attracted hundreds of attendees from small-holder farmers, learning institutions, and different organizations in Kenya. The participants learned about methods and tips for saving their seeds. Farmers also brought their own seeds to sell and to share amongst fellow farmers.
Such events are important because people have become used to buying commercial seeds every year. If farmers, agro-ecologists, and organizations that work in the area of agriculture do not regularly carry out events that introduce large groups to seed saving, our indigenous seeds will disappear in a very short while.
Shape Lives Farmer Field School
Alexander Kedje, Project Manager at Shape Lives International in Ghana is passionate about organic farming. He has seen how the excessive use of fertilizers and agro-chemicals has lead, over time, to lower agricultural outputs in the Volta Region where he lives. The soil is overworked and the result is low food production. This in turn leads to high levels of hunger and poverty in the communities where people are growing food for their own consumption.
Shape Lives International, a grassroots community organization, met with farmers and together they clarified the current needs of the farming community. Farmers wanted to know more about sustainable agriculture and best practices for sustainable food production.
A Farmer Field School training in the model garden.
Alexander wrote to tell me what they then did to help the farmers:
We established the Farmer Field School to promote sustainable agriculture, good nutrition and food security. The Farmer Field School is dedicated to empowering rural farmers with knowledge and skills to become experts in their own field through training in innovative sustainable agricultural practices. We work to sharpen the farmers’ abilities to make critical and informed decisions. And we also alter farmers to new ways of thinking and problem solving, and as well as helping them organize themselves and their communities.
From 2015-2017, we have trained and supported more than 200 rural famers in organic vegetables cultivation. These men and women are growing maize (corn), rice, moringa, potatoes, soya beans, and many other crops.
We aim to train more farmers and provide the needed support to establish their own farms, so that they can improve their nutritional needs and become food self-sufficient.
**Even though SIA has not supported these organizations in recent years, I follow their progress and admire the work they are doing to help farmers in their regions.