The Ronnie Fund
by The Ronnie Fund
March 15, 2011

The Ronnie Fund

Spring in Wongonyi

Isiah Mwandami has the strong legs to carry a bunch of freshly harvested bananas from the terraced fields to the road for transport to market
A truck load of bananas off to market

For Canadian gardeners, spring is finally on the horizon and seed catalogues, peat pellets and grow lights are all on our minds.

However for the subsistence farmers of Wongonyi village Kenya, the rains have arrived and planting season come and gone. The crops of maize, kale, beans and a few other staples are planted and the farming cycle begun. For a different crop it has been harvest time. Hundreds of banana seedlings have been nurtured and grown to maturity. The last petal has fallen from the huge flower that grows down from the substantial bunch of bananas signaling harvest time. As the farmers truck the crop to potential markets, they pray for a good price, something sometimes beyond their grasp in the world of agricultural middlemen.

With the aid of such North American seed companies as Renne’s, McKenzie and Baker Creek, the Ronnie Fund has been able to provide seed for a wide variety of new vegetables to the farmers of Wongonyi. They grow well in the Kenyan climate and many households have expressed surprise at the volume of crop that they can grow in what we would call kitchen gardens. Ronnie’s mother Getrude is often one of the tester’s, ready to grow something new outside her home and share it with her neighbours.

The concept of new vegetables is not without some challenge. Growing them is one thing but cooking and eating them does require a leap of faith for these rural Kenyan folk. They often refer to the new veggies that they have just gown as muzungo (white man) food and are reluctant to try them.

On our next visit to Kenya, Kathy plans some cooking classes with the muzungo vegetables in hopes of encouraging the villagers to eat what they reap from these quality nutritious crops.





Peter and Kathy Wood
The Ronnie Fund
86 Quebec Street,
Bracebridge, Ontario
P1L 2A4
"Working for Quality Village Life in Kenya"
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