The depleted nature of soils in western Kenya makes an instant switch to organic agriculture impossible, which is why our farm programs teach both organic and conventional farming techniques side-by-side. We also emphasize tree-planting to improve soils, reduce erosion, and produce income.
All of the farm lessons taught by our staff have an emphasis on “sustainable intensification,” which means yielding more while inputting (and spending) less. Our agriculture staff teach about composting, nitrogen-fixation, and biological pest control, and they instruct on full-circle concepts borrowed from permaculture. This is taught alongside best practices in the use of conventional fertilizers and disease controls. Our staff also help farmers understand the nutritional needs of animals like chickens, pigs, and fish, guiding them to purchase the correct feeds, while at the same time helping them develop more environmentally sustainable and cost-effective alternatives like red worms and hydroponic fodder. Our tree-planting efforts promote agroforestry, which means growing trees within a farm. We give out nitrogen-fixing tree seedlings sourced from local nurseries owned by families we support, and we give grafted fruit seedlings sourced from reputable local distributors. Tree-planting helps families improve soil fertility, control erosion, and generate a meaningful and sustainable source of future income.