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Former Big Brother housemate in mushroom business

By | August 29th 2009

By Dauti Kahura

Appearing on a TV reality show would guarantee anyone almost instant fame and a head start in show business.

But somewhere in Ugenya District, a former reality show contestant has acquired a different kind of audience — peasant farmers.

Since his big screen debut in Big Brother Africa II in 2007, Jeff Anthony slipped into a quite life, away from the camera lens.

When The Standard on Saturday met him in Ugunja, he was in a makeshift structure, of mud walls and iron sheet roof, surrounded by farmers at a meeting to teach residents how to grow mushrooms.

Former Big Brother housemate Jeff Anthony

Jeff, a mushroom farming consultant, has been holding such sessions around the country.

Just recently, he was in Voi, Coast Province, on the same mission.

Not many would expect Jeff in the drudgery of rural life, teaching rural folk prudent farming methods. But he considers this a calling.

Other interests

After an induction course by Mount Pleasant Mushroom Consultants, he now considers himself a mushroom expert.

His other love is writing. His Religion is Fiction was published in 2007. His other books are Don’t Get Married and Everybody is a Conman. The latter is yet to be published.

"All are mystery thrillers with titles derived from the characters in the stories," says Jeff.

Religion is Fiction is replete with ambition, crime, debauchery and homicide.

Mount Pleasant Mushroom Consultant was started by Dr Mary Goretti Kariaga, Jeff’s mother, who also teaches at Maseno University.

"I have been a consultant with the firm since 2005," says Jeff.

He says he chose mushroom farming because it does not need a lot of space, is not rain dependent and is easy to manage.

"It is good for small scale farmers, particularly rural women who do not own land. They only need to create little space in their homesteads," he says.

"All you need is several polythene bags for those who can’t find sacks, three hours of labour input and raw materials such as sugar cane bagasse, rice husks, bean pods and dry banana leaves," he says.

In his spare time, he edits Community Livelihood Development Forum magazine.

Besides, he is involved in environmental conservation with SMEJAK Tree Promotional Group, which has its office in Kisumu and has been planting trees along Oroba River in Miwani.

"The river is drying up because of environmental degradation," he notes.

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