A Farmer Reflects on Growing Up in a Farming Community in Kenya

Farmer Andrew Brown is on the Green Shoots AgriTour in Kenya and shares his impressions of life growing up as a child in a farming community in Kenya.

Farmer Andrew Brown holding a giraffe skull

Farmer Andrew Brown holding a skull of a giraffe

“As I see it children in Kenya growing up in a farming community in Kenya have a different life to those in the UK. As we drive from place to place I see lots of them playing with hoops and sticks and skipping ropes on the side of the roads. None of them seem to have TVs or electronic gadgets and some don’t even have electricity. They live in very small houses with their families which are often quite large.

Family life

The houses are sometimes just one room where everyone sleeps and eats. Some of the houses are made of mud with tin or a thatched roof. Even though these children have very little they always seem to be smiling and happy. At home in England my children have lots of electronic gadgets and toys to play with but I am not sure they are any happier than those in Kenya who have very little. Let’s remember that having lots of possessions does not make you happy.

Growing up in a Kenyan farming community

Children reading comic in Kenyan village library

Rural Kenyan children read comics in community library built with money earned from rose farming.

We are visiting farms which supply vegetables and roses to supermarkets in the UK. Some of these are FairTrade labelled products . That means 10% of the price paid in the UK for the product goes back into community projects in Kenya. Waitrose also have a Foundation which is providing solar powered street lights, a kindergarten, a maternity unit and community centres where people can go and watch football on TV, use the internet and read books in a library. It was good to see children reading books and comics in that library.

Those of us in England who buy Kenyan products in Waitrose or those labelled with the FairTrade logo are helping Kenyans to improve their quality of life and become better educated so that they can earn money to help their families. Each person who has a job may have to support up to 8 other family members!”

Watch the photo story made by Green Shoots about how Kenyan communities benefit from growing and selling flowers to UK.

Green Shoots organised the AgriTour of Kenya for Smiths Gore as one of the Centre for Contemporary Agricuture (CCA) training opportunities for UK farmers supported by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) for which Defra is the Managing Authority, part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas.