Rose’s Twalalishe Farm is in full bloom! While Rose began farming over 18 years ago, her partnership with Somo in 2017 helped to expand her farm into a sustainable business. Today, she produces affordable and organic produce for people in Kibera and gives trainings on nutrition and urban farming to community members.
Her dream for Twalalishe Farm began in 2004 when she became a Community Elder in her neighborhood. A large dumping ground existed on the edge of the area which Rose and the other Elders wanted to clean up and put to better use. “At first,” explains Rose, “we thought about growing flowers. But then I realized that flowers cannot help the community.” Instead, she proposed to the chief that they turn the area into a farm as this could help “feed our children, buy them books and even pay for school fees.” After testing the soil to make sure it was safe for growing food, he agreed and Twalalishe was born.
The farm also helps women more safely access produce. As no farms existed in the area prior to Twalalishe, women and produce sellers in Kibera were forced to wake up as early as 4 a.m. to travel to the city center and buy their produce. Organized gangs in the area often assaulted these women, making their commute extremely dangerous. Due to this violence, many women were forced to turn to unhealthy processed foods to feed their families.
In the future, Rose plans to partner with schools and hospitals in the area to provide more people with fresh food. The largest issue she faces at the moment, however, is insufficient water which is preventing her from expanding production. “We are also struggling with adequate fencing and the price of seeds,” notes Rose, “But lack of water is our biggest issue because it is rationed in this neighborhood.” She hopes to build another greenhouse at some point so she can better meet the demand for her produce.
Overall, Rose believes her farm has created a positive impact on her community. “The Chief and other community members are so happy with Twalalishe because it is helping to create food security in Kibera,” remarks Rose, “With Somo’s help, we are changing lives by giving people access to fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Stop by Twalalishe Farm today, located in Kibera near the Southern Bypass.