Ariaka’s urban farming journey By Thorach Jacinta
When 30-year-old Nelson Ariaka passed by a green space at the Christian Youth Missionary Group Kinawataka (CYMGK), he got so much inspired by what he saw that he enquired from the caretaker, if it was possible for him to also set up a similar urban garden.
Luckily, there was a training on urban farming that was being organized for members of the community by the Network for Active Citizens, a not-for-profit organisation working with citizens and community to impact change on issues that affect the people. Ariaka attended the training. Out of what he learnt, he was able to start an urban farm of vegetables in
July 2022. He grows mainly vegetables like sukuma wiki, spinach and nakati. In addition, he also grows maize and egg plants. He says when he harvests the vegetables, he sells them to earn income. During the harvesting season, he could earn up to sh15,000 per day, he says. He also uses the garden as a training site for his fellow youth, teaching them how to set up an urban farm. He says from the trainings he has conducted, some youths have been able to set up their farms as well.He says in a bid to earn a living through the urban garden, he has also met some challenges. “We buy water and when there is no rain, it is very expensive to water the garden and yet water is vital for the plants to remain healthy and green.”
He says the chickens of the neighbours often destroy the vegetables, especially at the stage when they
are just sprouting out of the soil. He says he intends to expand his garden, though, for now, limited finances still stand in his way.