This post is by Anthony Goggin, LEAF Marque Technical Manager.
I have recently returned from sunny Sub Saharan Africa where I helped with LEAF’s first ever African LEAF Open Farm Sunday in Kenya!
…it was actually a Friday and a Saturday since on the first day we had primary and secondary children and students and local farmers on the other day. In short it was fantastic!
The farm walk was organised with 6 different stopping points or ‘stations’ around the farm. The host team had a lot of fun and enjoyed the challenge and opportunity to get their key messages across. These messages included ‘every drop of water counts’, ‘farmers have friends’, ‘organic matter matters’, ‘the world of panda miti (biodiversity)’, ‘productive partnerships’ and ‘soil is life’.
The open day involved a walk with overflow stops at the start so the crowd waiting had something to do and hear before they set off in groups on the circuit. I was able to show them pictures about what went on here in the UK. We even had a picture of Ian Pigott – the UK founder of Open Farm Sunday! Over 350 school children came on the first day. Impeccably behaved, deeply attentive and with great questions, they soaked up all they could see and hear. The activities – puzzles, question sheet and leaflet, stickers and give-aways – we took with us went down very well too.
On the second day there was a steady turn out of farmers – almost 120 in total I think. It was especially good to see some of those we had met and trained on previous trips. Their feedback was excellent too. Their comments on the way that LEAF is improving their farming – and lives – was very touching. It was great to see LEAF’s sustainable agriculture in action economically, environmentally and socially.
Anyway enough from me; here’s what Apollo Owour, the KHE farms’ head agronomist, had to say about it.
“The event exceeded our expectations by far, 359 students and 116 farmers attended and feedback was ‘We want more’, ‘When is the next event?’ and ‘How soon?’
“We were quite impressed by the turn out, participation and the team work exhibited both locally and from the UK team. As always we feel they are a great part of the team here and the support has been invaluable.”
Another way of supporting this project is to pop out to your nearest Waitrose and taste some of the LEAF Marque Kenyan produce. Whilst we were there we sampled some of the fine green beans. Interestingly enough, the locals see them as such a common food that in some parts of Kenya they don’t eat them!
More information about the project can be found here and take a look at the inspirational video below: