Green Dreams Ltd started in 2000 on 10 beautiful acres in Tigoni, Kenya. We were the first locally certified Organic farm in Kenya in 2004. Our company produces fresh vegetables, fruit, dairy and poultry products. We have a passion for healthy living and knowledge sharing with small-scale rural farmers.

Archive for the ‘Farmers markets’

Almost time to plant!!

The seedlings are almost ready. What a transformation!! The photos were taken on the 9th of June exactly two months from the date the Youth Reform boys and girls started to clear the dump site. We still have issues with the soil test and will try to intercrop plants that will extract the heavy metals, with food plants. When the crops and extraction plants are mature we will test them to see the effects. Hopefully the food crops will be ok?

Markets or entertainment events?

I think we have it all wrong. Our farmers markets seem to follow the same pattern………..a venue is located (normally at a fee) tents are hired (another fee) tables and chairs are hired (fee again) entertainment is hired, normally consisting of a jumping castle, a live band or entertainer (obviously at a huge fee) …..posters are printed, fliers are printed, T.V and Radio ads go out……….all at a phenominal cost……..(covered by an Ngo…………but really not a sustainable venture at all)

Income is generated by charging the farmers to participate, or subsidising them, ……….and not alot else. Consumers do not pay even though they are being given a full platter of entertainment…………..
Events are progressively poorly attended and farmers disillusioned . Some travel from as far as 200 km away. Sustainability is definitely not achieved.

I’ve often asked the organisers what they are trying to achieve. An event? An entertainment event? If so it should be held at night when people can drink and dance…………….and of course there will be no market gains for anyone.

We have to put ourselves in the shoes of the farmer and the consumer. As a farmer I want a market that is well attended, close to my location, held on a day that does not interupt my farm working days, and cost effective………I would also prefer not to return with my unsold products as it will cost me extra on transport. My objective is to sell.

As a consumer, when visiting any market, I do not expect entertainment, nor to stay for longer than I have to buy my products. I want to be in and out and able to get my goodies home at least within 2 hours of purchase. I would like a variety of products,a convenient off work day to visit the market,good safe parking, help with carrying my loaded bags to my car would help and be in everyones interest, …………………………I want to buy.
So how do we make this happen given that our farmers come from so far and wide.

With the notion that Rome was not built in one day, I feel we can achieve all of the objectives if we start small markets close to the organic retailers. Saturday would be my choice of day as most farmers attend church on Sunday.Farmers could negotiate with retailers to buy their left over produce rather than dump it or pay for it to return up country.
I also believe such a market must be consistently at the same venue. Currently they have been held (these big events) at various venues. Each event has different farmers and consumers and therfore not alot of capacity building.

Like value added products, it is hard for farmers or other industry players to imagine what could be without experience of the same. We are continually inventing the wheel. Sometimes it rolls , but sadly, ends up down the hill.
I believe we should make the farmers market as convenient as possible for all. We should plonk it in the path of the consumers, not expect them to detour form their daily activities…

Angela and I plan to start a farmers market in the parking lot out side the store. It will cost nothing in advertising as we will use word of mouth and repetition of the same event to grow our customer base. We’ll stick a couple of hand printed notices on the notice board at the shop and may do a few fliers in the We will expect the farmers closest to Nairobi to attend and hope they will be the pioneers of the base of the market which should as it grows attract both farmers and consumers from further afield. Using the car parking lot to incubate the farmers market, we imagine once it reaches a certian capacity it will grow to a bigger venue, or more retailers will do the same……… this space