Urban Farmers - How Nairobians Are Growing & Selling Food

  • Most of city dwellers grow kales, spinach and traditional vegetables in their small kitchen gardens in sacks and buckets
    Most of city dwellers grow kales, spinach and traditional vegetables in their small kitchen gardens in sacks and buckets
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  • The population of Nairobi County has in recent years been rising steadily, leading to a growing population chasing limited resources especially in critical areas such as food.

    Kenyans.co.ke compiled a list of crops, spices and vegetables that city residents are increasingly growing to feed their families and to sell in neighborhood groceries and supermarkets.

    Kales, Spinach and Traditional vegetables

    City farmers are growing kales, spinach and traditional vegetables in their small kitchen gardens or balconies in sacks and buckets. However, due to the small amounts of crop harvested from such methods, Nairobians have turned to vertical farming which enables them to harvest more from a small space.

    Vertical farming is a new food technology that utilises vertical space in a bid to maximize on land and also to increase water efficiency.
    Vertical farming is a food technology that utilises vertical space in a bid to maximize on land
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    What is vertical farming

    Vertical farming is a new food technology that utilises vertical space in a bid to maximize land and also increase water efficiency.

    Vertical bags are small enough to fit balconies and this ensures that one does not necessarily have to own a garden in order to do farming.

    The largest bags occupy around a squire metre and in this space one can grow at least 100 plants of their choice.

    Another advantage of using vertical bags is that they are made of UV inhibiting material and this ensures that they are reusable and can last for long without replacement.

    Spices

    The most common spices that Nairobi residents grow are rosemary, oregano and mint.

    Kenyans.co.ke spoke to a Nairobi resident, Rose Mueni, to understand more about the spices she grows and why she chose them over the other spices.

    “I grow rosemary and mint in buckets near my kitchen window. This ensures that I can easily access them when I am cooking,” Mueni said.

    The cost of spices in supermarkets is not affordable to many Kenyans and therefore many city dwellers are turning to growing their own spices as an alternative.

    Strawberries

    Strawberries take about three months to mature depending on the temperature conditions of the area.

    The fruit is harvested throughout the year since it does not have seasons. Wastage is also minimal because the waste can be used to make juice and jam, with retailers providing ready and consistent demand for the fruit.

    Nairobi dwellers mainly plant the fruit in buckets.

    Onions

    The price of onions in the market has been steadily increasing especially due to the President’s Uhuru Kenyatta’s order barring entry and exit into the five counties.

    Nairobi residents have been mainly planting spring onions for domestic and commercial use in their small pieces of land and this has proved to be profitable to some.

    How to make a home garden

    The first step is to identify the site where the setup will be done. This can be a balcony or a backyard depending on the space available.

    The next step is collecting the soil needed. It is advised that one uses well-drained soil that is free from pests and diseases.

    Collect manure that will be used by using well-decomposed goat manure because it is less acidic.

    Depending on the type of crop one wants to plant, one can plant directly or plant the seedlings in a seed bed.

    Nairobi dwellers mainly plant the fruit in buckets.
    Nairobi dwellers mainly plant the fruit in buckets.
    File