Urban farming sprouts in impoverished Nairobi neighborhood

Category : Top Stories

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. venture / ˈvɛn tʃər / (v.) – to do something new or different, especially at the risk of failing or being criticized

    After serving in the military, he ventured into running his own business.

  2. impurity / ɪmˈpyʊər ɪ ti / (n.) – an unwanted substance found in something else and that makes it unclean

    They use a system that removes impurities from water to make it drinkable.

  3. maximize / ˈmæk səˌmaɪz / (v.) – to use something in a way that will give the best result

    They were able to maximize their small apartment space by using specially designed furniture.

  4. impoverished / ɪmˈpɒv ər ɪʃt / (adj.) – very poor

    The rural area still has some impoverished areas that need help.

  5. amenity / əˈmɛn ɪ ti / (n.) – something that provides convenience and comfort

    We had a great stay because the hotel has a lot of amenities.


Read the text below.

Kenya is facing food production and food security challenges due to population growth, land use and a changing climate. So in the congested capital Nairobi, residents of its Kibera neighborhood are growing their own crops.

In Nairobi’s Kibera neighborhood, a lack of proper sanitation, scarcity of water, and proper garbage collection make farming a difficult venture. But that’s not deterred residents who’ve ventured into urban farming.

Farmers like David Omari are adapting soilless mediums, such as hydroponic systems, to grow their own crops. Omari is using vertical methods of farming, with pipes laid out horizontally and recycled yogurt cups slotted inside. Instead of soil, farmers here typically use pumice, a volcanic rock that’s crushed and washed to remove impurities.

“In Kibera, we don’t have enough land, of which you can plant what you can see over here. So, we are using what we call the waste products, which are things which come from yogurt, those cups of yogurt,” explains Omari.

“We put in the pumice, which comes from the volcanic type of soil or rock from Maimahiu. So this one, you know it has got no impurities, it is clear and makes the work easier because it cannot grow some weeds.”

The use of hydroponic methods is helping Kibera’s urban farmers maximize space for a bumper harvest.

Experts say such urban farms provide food security to neighborhood residents and reduce transportation costs so food is more affordable too. Setting up such smart facilities is expensive for the farmers living in Kibera. Therefore, farmers are funded by the World Food Programme (WFP) and supported by the Human Needs Project, an international NGO that helps build sustainable infrastructure in impoverished neighborhoods like Kibera.

Human Needs Project has supplied these farmers with clean water for irrigation and other amenities.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Kenya is facing food production and food security challenges. Do you think these are critical problems in your country as well? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Population growth, land use, and changing climate are the main reasons for food insecurity in Kenya. Which of these do you think is the most crucial? Why? How do you think food production and food security challenges can be addressed? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • What do you think are the pros and cons of urban farming? Discuss.
  • Do you think people in your country will feel encouraged to do urban farming? Would you like to try it? Why or why not? Discuss.


Category : Top Stories