Photo Essay: Farming with Nature
The worm needs healthy soil where it can thrive. The bird needs a tree to perch on and build its nest. The bee needs nectar which is not poisoned for it to give us honey. The ladybird needs to crawl on soft cushioned ground. While the human being, needs healthy, safe food which mother nature can offer in abundance. That is how mother nature thrives holistically.
They may look helpless. You step on them and they coil. But these creatures are not useless at all. They help in the decomposition process and add nutrients to the soil for that yummy fruit or vegetable. Before we killed them with harsh chemicals that we dumped in our soils, they would hide in the wet leaves, kitchen refuse and help in decomposing hence adding nutrients to the soil and improving its texture.
Goats. We see them roaming freely. Some love its milk. Others love the meat. The skin, too is used to make beautiful accessories. But ever thought about the pellets it produces? Yes, goat’s manure is not only good for the soil but also can be used for mulching. The pellets are easy to collect and do store.
The buzzing from the bees is becoming faint day-by-day. Many bees are under threat and this does not only spell doom for honey but also food crops that depend on bees for pollination. According to FAO, bees and other pollinators are declining in abundance in many parts of the world largely due to intensive farming practices, mono-cropping, excessive use of agricultural chemicals and higher temperatures associated with climate change. However, agroecology provides an opportunity for pollinators to thrive.
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD
Kitchen gardens have become a buzz-word in 2020. From herbs and vegetables to fruits, consumers are attempting to own what they eat. The Ministry of Agriculture plans to establish one million kitchen gardens across the country to guarantee households access to a healthy diets. Demonstration kitchen gardens have been established at the Ministry’s headquarter in Kilimo House. A step in the right direction, and something we’d love to see more of from our leadership.
Gone are the days when one would stroll in the shamba for the free growing saga (spider plant), managu (night shade) or the nderema (vine spinach). Due to their scarcity, they are now a delicacy that can only be afforded by a select few. The price has skyrocketed our of reach for more families. However, agroecology ensures a balance between tradition (culture) and modern food habits, bringing them together in a harmonious way that promotes healthy food production and consumption. As a result, supporting the right to adequate food. Agroecology uses diversification on the farm, as a protection against climate change. It supports traditions and culture around locally available foods, and promises to feed many millions of people who go without food on a daily basis.
Route to Food Initiative collaborated with photographer, Michael Khateli, to showcase the importance of farming with nature.