Feature: Kenyan urban youth defy stereotypes to provide kitchen gardening solutions – Xinhua | English.news.cn – Xinhua

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NAIROBI, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) — Unlike her peers who may be wary of their well-manicured nails, June Kamba is not afraid to get dirt under her nails; as a matter of fact, she draws pleasure from thrusting garden tools into the earth and scooping soil with her bare hands.
Kamba, 24 is a self-taught organic kitchen gardener, offering gardening solutions to clients looking forward to growing food that is free from chemicals.
“There has always been a compelling desire within me to wean people off the consumption of inorganic food. Kitchen gardening stood out as the most effective way of achieving my aspiration,” Kamba told Xinhua on Saturday.
“Halisi gardening services was born last year as the vehicle intended to help me achieve my long-held dream,” she added.
Vegetable gardening has well been with us, historians point to a time when a man stopped being nomadic, choosing to occupy a single land for a prolonged time.
This new lifestyle is assumed to have encouraged the cultivation of edible herbs, which were predominantly used for medicinal purposes.
Since then, the practice has acquired sophistication, integrating vertical gardening, modern irrigation techniques and allowing for the growth of an array of seeds.
Nevertheless, even with the stark progress, it largely remains a preserve of the older demography, but now Kamba is looking to change this narrative.
“The responsibility of growing safe food should not be bestowed on a specific population segment. The buck stops with us all. Halisi reminds people to be in touch with their food,” said Kamba.
Kamba together with her two-member team advertises their services online. When a client expresses interest she proceeds to their premises to examine the plot layout, thereafter, she prepares a quotation of farm input.
What follows next is a physically demanding task, which she says she enjoys.
To a large extent, her clients are urbanites with limited compound spaces.
She grows directly from the ground until she runs out of space and explores vertical techniques.
Asked the rewards of farming, she says, the process of nurturing plants teaches one the virtue of patience, one she extends outside the farm.
In Kenya and across the world, there has been a renaissance in urban farming stimulated by the need to be food secure when global supply chains are still shedding off the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consequently, last year, the Ministry of Agriculture through a project dubbed, the National Agriculture and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP) provided requisite kits for the establishment of kitchen gardens to at least one million vulnerable households in rural and urban areas.
Complementing the government on its efforts, Kamba is focused on introducing as many households to vegetable gardening and flower landscaping.
“Most clients want continental and ingenious leafy vegetables and herbs have also gained traction. Noteworthy, we provide consultancy services to clients for at least three months from the day of cultivation,” said Kamba.
Her resoluteness and vigor have seen her client base steadily increase.
At a time when employment opportunities have dwindled in the country, Kamba encourages young people to embrace other income-generating avenues outside conventional economic opportunities.
“Let us not have shame for work, because that is what ails us and in any case when you walk into a shop nobody cares to ask which sort of work yielded the money, all they care about is if you have it or not,” said Kamba.
Samuel Kivanze, an administrator in a children’s home which enlisted in Kamba’s services, welcomes the initiative set to lower their over-reliance on donations.
“We remain optimistic that once the plants flourish, the children will have enough food to eat, and we can have some to sell,” said Kivanze.
The home which is domiciled in Mlolongo town, located about 10 kilometers southeast of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi relies on vegetable vendors operating within the town to meet the children’s nutritional needs.
The management is now looking to expand the area under irrigation after securing the necessary materials.
Like any other venture, Kamba has had a fair share of challenges, she decried the laxity of clients to tend to plants in their young stage, until when they require minimum attention. Enditem

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