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Photo Story: Residents of Nyalenda in Kisumu embrace organic foods grown in home gardens

Gilbert Ochieng, a student from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology waters one of the cones in Nyalenda

By Laura Otieno

Explainer – The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly spread around the world since late 2019, and in its wake, had profound implications for food security and nutrition. Various countries across the world reported an unfolding crisis that affected food systems and threatened access to food.  According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation FAO,132 million people in low-income countries that rely on food imports, experienced food insecurity as a direct result of the pandemic.

Two month-old kales on the cone garden in Nyalenda

Apart from major disruption to food supply chains in the wake of lockdowns triggered by the global health crisis, an economic slowdown resulted in lower incomes and higher prices of some foods, putting food out of reach for many. At Nyalenda, an informal settlement in Kisumu, United Destiny Shapers, a community-based organisation led by Job Oluoch, introduced the concept of home gardening to cater to the food-insecure population, most of whom had been laid off from casual labour.

Job Oluoch, UBS team leader, poses with a kale nursery. The nursery is improvised from a used 5-litre cooking oil jerrycan
Residents fetch water from the Kochuodho spring, a natural spring providing water to the farms

With limited urban spaces in town, the UDS uses its own compound within the slum, to set up demo farms, where they plant organic foods, sourcing water from a natural spring and organic fertilizer from vermiculture, where red earthworms turn organic waste like food leftovers in to fertilizer.

A red worm used for vermiculture, it coverts organic waste in to fertilizer

They majorly plant vegetables, on vertical “cone” gardens to maximise on usage of space. Amidst the heated conversation of the uptake of GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) foods, residents in Nyalenda are going full organic.

Two month old kales on the cone garden in Nyalenda

This initiative called food security at the doorstep, could widely increase food security in Kenya and other countries that are still food insecure.

United Destiny Shapers recycles plastic bottles to make the cone gardens










This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Laura Otieno and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union or those of Mobile Journalism Africa.

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