Do you think of the farmer who sowed the seeds, tilled the land, irrigated and kept watch till the golden crop got ready to be transported on a journey before it reached your kitchen changing many hands in the process? When was the last time you ever spoke to a farmer who prepared the food that eventually landed on your plate? We hardly think of these seemingly insignificant things as we are lost in the daily chores of our life.
Every little thing that ends on our plate has a story to tell. If we try to understand what went into the making of each ingredient, the farmer’s sweat, the middleman’s shrewdness, the shopkeeper’s struggle etc- then we can understand many things. I feel we need to look at food from its source and this is what we are aiming to do? But why you may ask. Because there is a lot of economics there. Our farmers need to do a lot more research on what vegetables can be grown in our region, what crops can be supported by the soil we find here, what are the vegetables that people in the region want to consume, can we introduce some exotic vegetables and fruits in our local farms, will there be a market for these, can we eliminate the middleman and connect the buyer with the seller directly? A whole lot of questions. But this kind of food connect should be mapped so that we can maximize gains for both the seller as well as the buyer. We at Kenya Vegetarian Club aim to make this food connect, bring the farmer in close connect with the buyer. This way we will know the journey of each and every thing that lands up on our plate and also what to eat in which season thereby improving our health and general well-being.
Farmers love to produce what sells fast. If the sellers come directly with their produce, the buyers are most benefited, in terms of money, quality, freshness and feedback which can be given directly so that we get improved services. Also getting involved with the farmers helps us to put a face on the nameless, faceless warriors of the earth who work day and night to prepare the fields to give us our daily meal.
When I set out to know these things, I found that many vegetables come into Kisumu because our county farmers alone cannot meet the demand. We have huge tracts of land and we have poor farmers. They do not have the knowledge or means to do research on these things. This is one important area of work for us at Kenya Vegetarian Club. We study and research on these and tell the farmers what vegetables they should grow, donate seeds so that women can become more empowered and our region is fully self-sufficient and our farmers finally will have enough food to eat.