Urbanite teaches housewives how to grow, sell sukuma wiki

By - Jan 1st 1970

If Covid taught us anything, it was that cities must be food sustainable; the uncertainty of lockdowns made it clear that you cannot rely solely on rural areas to supply food.

In recent years, there has been widespread adoption of urban farming, in which urbanites farm in their small backyard spaces.

Wangari Kuria is the CEO of Farmer on Fire, where she uses her urban garden in Kitengela as a demo farm to teach young people and housewives how to become farmers and improve their social media presence for a fee of Sh1,000 per day.

Digital farmer Wangari Kuria.

Wangari, a strategic and business management graduate, says she started her company after losing her job due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is a training centre for young people to come and learn practical farming skills and how to make money from farming,” she said.

Wangari also teaches people about digital media and farming, demonstrating the skills needed as a farmer to thrive in today’s world by reaching a larger market online.

“Basically we use the power of storytelling to change narratives by creating content to show people the possibility of them being food producers.

“Some of the skills we teach them include opening an account, creating a group, creating a community, and following, as well as showing them specific areas of interest. We teach them how to take pictures with the proper colour scheme and lighting,” Wangari said.

Digital media

She stated that when posting a product, it should include information such as a phone number, location, the quantity produced, and the variety. She claims that this reduces back-and-forth inquiries.

Wangari claims to be a self-taught farmer. “After I was laid off, I had to find a new path,” she explained.

The farmer acknowledges that digital media has played an important role in her learning process because of the rich information available on social platforms.

The CEO cites a lack of income as the primary motivator for starting the company. “I began with a kitchen garden, where I planted sukuma wiki and other vegetables. I realised there was a market here in Kitengela; many people here do not believe in farming because the land is too dry.

“I started creating small clips for my friends to learn how to farm for themselves,” she said.

Wangari believes having a digital presence is critical for farmers because “we are not going back, analogue is no longer our world, we are digital people, and people need to adapt to it.

“There appears to be a conflict between agriculture and digital; when people see me with manicured nails and make-up, they wonder if I am truly a farmer.”

Farming is not for the peasant or the poor or uneducated, Wangari said.

 

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