Spirulina Project Kenya
Following our very interesting tour of the Chlorella business outside Sieben Linden and the Global v Local discussion we had during our German trip, Didi, a member of our Co-op here in Ireland kept coming into my mind. The Spirulina project which she has been involved in developing and managing in Kenya is a phenomenal story and tests us all on the issues of what is sustainable and important when it comes to what we eat and our nutritional needs.
Didi has been working with The Sunrise Education Trust for a number of years and took on the management of one of their farms in Whitegate, East Clare, Ireland back in 2010. The vision of Sunrise Education Trust is to educate through Health, Happiness and Sustainability, here is a link to the website for the farm Didi manages http://www.sunrisefarmireland.org/ . The income raised from the farm allows Didi and others like her to travel and get involved in food related projects around the globe for example Haiti and Kenya. It was in Kenya that this Spirulina Project was brought to fruit, here is Didi’s Spirulina story, real food for thought.
When the UN declared a famine in the Horn Of Africa in 2011 I returned after more than 30 years having worked in Somalia in 1981 for the High Commission for Refugees. It was like déjà vue, same drought and war causing hungry bellies and the most vulnerable as always, women and children.
When I reached Nairobi I was happy to see that AMURT was feeding over 1,000 children from the slums every Sunday giving rice and beans and vegetables to fill the hungry . It was a joy to see the smiling faces and how the older children cared and fed their younger siblings. It was a logistic nightmare needing lots of preparation, cooking and many, to help distribute. There must be something better and the idea of Spirulina arose.
I did my homework and visited Kisumu on Lake Victoria where 3 organizations were producing the blue green algae super food. Spirulina is the highest form of protein, full of vitamins and minerals easily digestible , compact, and producible in Kenya for the one in 3 malnourished children.
We started on a farm near Wote in the SE of Kenya near the Abha Light homeopathic clinic. We built 2 ponds 20 meters square filled with a 30cms. or about a foot of water and bought some Spirulina seed which came in a 20 liter jug with water and we gradually started increasing the density in the very alkaline water. Two persons went to training at IIMSAM (an international organization to solve malnutrition through the use of Spirulina) and returned to produce Spirulina.
I continued to support the project from afar but was happily surprised upon my return to Kenya in November 2012 to taste the delicious and nutritious solar dried Spirulina. We had doubled the production by building another 2 ponds. While there, we arranged to hold a training and an expert from IIMSAM came and trained 10 of us in Spirulina production. For our workers it was an opportunity to hoan their skills and ask questions to increase production and quality. For new folks it gave them a chance to learn and an inspiration to begin their own production.
And the best was to bring 100 malnourished children from the surrounding villages and give them a month supply of Spirulina and porrage of millet and sorghum. We measured height, weight and arm circumference and asked them to return every month for a new supply and to measure their health and growth. It was perfect timing as it is the hungry time of year in Kenya with the maize crop growing in the field but no food for the belly.
So the dream to feed malnourished children continues as we produce more and more Super Food Spirulina. Our plan is to expand and build more permanent ponds as we know it is now possible to grow this super nutritious food that some feel can solve malnourishment in Africa with Kenya becoming the bread basket. Each pond costs about $550 and running costs are $300 a month so your donations are welcome. We’ve also started to sell some of the Spirulina in the Abha Light Pharmacy in Kenya and at the farmers market and buyers coop in Ireland.
Happy Note: This great product is available to purchase here at the Co-op every Friday at our Smallholders Market where Didi has a stall!!!