In the second part of our blog series, we continued our journey across Kenya, visiting farms and learning about regenerative practices that help farmers cope with the effects of climate change. During this part of the journey, we also had the opportunity to see wildlife up close!
Our fifth stop was in Kipkelion, Kenya, where we visited Ann Tuwei, a coffee farmer and businesswoman working to empower women through the Kipkelion Women in Coffee Organisation. We learned about the ins and outs of coffee farming and the wonderful community aspect of her work. We went through the whole process from picking to pulping, drying, and shipping to the nearest roastery. It was shocking to learn that the local farmers have never tasted the coffee they produce! Despite working with many NGOs on “fair chains,” Ann and her family members tried espresso shots for the first time, which we made using a tiny metal Indian coffee machine (thanks Vinitha). Even though their faces at the first sip showed disgust, we left the coffee maker there so they could keep on experimenting and learning more about the product they create.
During our visit to the Forest Foods farm in Limuru, we were warmly welcomed by Cynthia and Guilherme. They spoke at length about the farm’s use of syntropic agroforestry and regenerative agricultural practices in Kenya. We learned that their farming philosophy goes beyond just organic and sustainable practices and instead aims to create abundance through the integration of crops, forestry systems, livestock, and fodder. This unique approach allows for the creation of a more resilient and diverse ecosystem, which in turn leads to a more efficient use of resources and a more sustainable food system. Additionally, Cynthia and Guilherme shared with us some of the challenges they face in implementing these innovative practices, such as the need for specialized local knowledge and expertise, as well as the need to constantly adapt to changing environmental conditions.
“The best thing you can do is to have a good agroforest, and the second best thing you can do is to have a bad agroforest, because the system will tell you how to improve” – Guilherme Sobral
At the end of our Kenya trip, we were fortunate enough to visit both Nairobi National Park and Tsavo National Park. Seeing all the animals up close was an exciting experience, but the harsh reality of the dry conditions hit us hard. While carnivores are still able to hunt successfully, other animals such as elephants, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, and many more are struggling to find trees to eat. The drought has also fueled the human-wildlife conflict. Elephants and hippos in search of water and food break into farms and destroy crops while carnivores like lions are attacking livestock.
The final lap of our Kenya cycling journey has been exciting. We saw a lot of farmers plowing their land as the rainy season has begun. The time for planting seeds has started. Farmers have been waiting for this moment for a while. The rain has also been enjoyable while cycling because we have not seen rain for a while now. We started in the summer and have been following the sun ever since. The rain has been a cool refreshment from the hot sun. Let’s hope this long rainy season will actually be long!
As we write this, we are nearing the border of Uganda. We look forward to sharing our new experiences with you!
- Exciting news! We have partnered with the @WUR Farming Systems Ecology group to create a series of videos for the “Future of Farming and Food” course, as well as for training business leaders in food and agriculture through Lighthouse Farm Academy . We are thrilled to contribute to the education of students and business leaders in regenerative agriculture, and we are excited to see the impact that this knowledge will have.
- Aisha featured in MID career booklet for students at WUR. “As someone who wished a career booklet like this existed when I was studying, I am thrilled to be an example for young people hoping to pursue their dreams.” Let’s inspire the next generation of leaders in sustainable agriculture!
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Aisha & Lukas