Kisumu County is leaving nothing to chance in ensuring food self sufficiency in the city by establishing innovative kitchen gardens in every underutilized space in the urban and peri – urban institutions in the County to enhance food production.
So far 7 schools, 11 health facilities, Persons Living with Disabilities, Cancer patients under the Cancer Foundation spearheaded by Mama County and individual farmers within the urban and peri urban have been earmarked as the beneficiaries of the project.
This initiative falls under the integrated food systems project funded by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), focused on enhancing sustainable development, food security and nutrition in urban and peri-urban areas, and nearby rural spaces.
It consists of a vast range of policies, programmes and initiatives developed and implemented in partnership with different stakeholders: civil society, academia, UN & International agencies, City networks and relevant public and private bodies and entities.
The positioning of such urban agriculture initiatives enables the development of local, sustainable, and resilient urban food systems.
The initiative in schools, connect the pupils with nature and with their food. Therefore, innovative kitchen gardens become a learning platform that raise community awareness on the importance of producing own quality food and adopting healthy eating habits.
Moreover, being included in the process of establishing the cone gardens, the pupils embrace the best practices in growing their own vegetables and can inculcate the practice back in their homes. Besides the project integrates the competency-based curriculum that uses the practical approach in learning.
According to experts, kitchen gardening may help cancer patients cope with a difficult diagnosis and maintain health for a variety of reasons, including: cconnection with others facing similar health challenges, increase in physical activity, improvement in dietary quality, enhance feelings of self-worth, and time spent outdoors.
While gardening is beneficial for everyone, it can provide the disabled gardener with special benefits that can make them feel better about themselves and that they still have value by contributing to the family’s well being, allowing them to feel good about themselves.
Gardening gets them moving while doing something useful and pleasant. Staying active helps the disabled remain healthier and happier despite any pain or limitations.
Garden structures and equipment however need to be carefully designed and chosen to accommodate people with disabilities. Raised containers and vertical gardens are popular options to make a garden area more accessible.
By: Emily Mikwa