23 farmers came yesterday to watch a impromptu demonstration of permaculture and bio intensive farming. When we arrived in the morning I was a little worried it would be just me, Ayub, JP and Mikey.... But sure enough people started coming in from every direction. We sat in the shade of the banana trees and went over basic principals. All of which had to be translated into Kemeru. We did a small forest guild with sheet mulching, Which all of the women were so excited and got their hands right into it! we finished the guild in no time. We then moved over to some beds Ayub had prepared and Ben Muia talked about bio intensive...but surprisingly he put a permaculture spin on it. I was so impressed as I had literally given him Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway the day before and here he was converted!
We had an amazing conversation over sodas and white bread(still need to work on why eating only organic food is important for diet and tried to make a point that future meetings we will only eat from the garden...one step at a time). They agreed to form two groups and visit each others farms once a week and get together once a month to discuss all they were learning. They are so eager to do anything that will improve their shamba and for so long they have been fed such crap information. The intentions I believe were good to start but now their only seed source is treated/ GMO seeds and everyone is planting the same crops as that is all they have access to.
So here we are to start a new way and give them confidence that their traditional ways and instincts are correct and to keep going and take back their power and their gardens. Have something that sustains them and provides for generations to come. It all starts in the soil and the roots! At the end of our day together they sang a little song for me and said that they were so happy I had come and brought a little light and love...The ladies even renamed me farmer lady in Kemeru "karimi" or something like that.... it was an absolute honor to bring something and have it so well received. I often feel it is someways easier here than in the states as there is a bit less resistance..... and still we keep going to crusaders for love and beauty and a healthy planet.
Mikey contemplating the amaranth plant
bio intensive demo
planting kale in sheet mulch
bio intensive with a permaculture twist