Food security in the wake of climate change
The theme of the painting is food security amidst climate change evidenced partly by patterns such as increased temperatures. The painting, at a glance, portrays a kiosk. The kiosk, in this case, is generally smallholder farmer’s marketplace. It is fully stocked with various types of produce from eggs, carrots, sugarcane, milk, bananas and other vegetables. A closer look brings out the background shelf, where all the items are placed, that is shaded black. The dark shade showcases a charcoal cooler, which is an affordable and effective way of preserving fresh produce. At the counter lies a newspaper and right above the bottles labelled milk, hangs some eco-friendly bags.
The high temperatures caused by climate change, reduce the shelf-life of many stored commodities. To curb this situation, a low-cost method has been portrayed, that is, the Evaporative Cooling Technology (ECT) represented by the kiosk with double layers of walls between which coal briquettes are fitted together by a network of piped water; a network connection to a tank and tap. The inner wall of that structure is made of wire mesh. Inside the ECT are several food commodities grown in different parts of the country hence are showing the similarity of such goods across the country and ultimately depicts national unity.
We can see the owner of the Evaporative Cooling Technology has a newspaper to get information and has adapted to environmentally friendly bags. This signifies the need to adopt new technology like the Evaporative Cooling Technology and greenhouse farming, need to access information, protect our environment, the infrastructural development like roads to transport produce to the markets and to have national unity to enhance inter-county trade to achieve food security. The eco-friendly bags represent environmental conservation awareness which indicates the need for caution on environmental pollution and the use of environmentally friendly ways of producing our food like organic farming.
Beyond the kiosk are yellow and blue trucks labelled “Fresh Foods” (blue symbolizes confidence and yellow freshness). This is an indication that for food to be accessible, there is a need for good transport systems and infrastructure that will ensure easy flow of produce from the producer to the consumer. The role of the fresh food trucks is to transport food to the demanding market in the city where there is little or no agricultural activities.
Right after the trucks are orange-brownish structures which depict greenhouses for food production and silos for food storage. The greenhouses are brown, the colour of soil while the silos are orange; (orange is said to naturally lend itself to food as an appetizing colour and has the psychological effect of attracting people to eat food hence its use in this case.
Finally, beyond the greenhouses is barren land which has been as a result of climate change and human practices like deforestation. The skyscrapers are evidence of an urban centre. In our urban centres, people rely on rural production which can barely meet the demand hence food insufficiency. The reliance is depicted by the barren land, the lack of fertile lands and the presence of skyscrapers which are the replacements and built on fertile lands. As a result, Nairobi, in this case, is portrayed in the background as a city devoid of trees.
Art by Edwin Karanja and Newton Eshivachi