This is a simple beginning to a very thorny story. In the foot hills of many communities are the major makers of food for every citizen, local and global. The hero in this story has extraordinary super being power, has the will power to wake up each morning with sweeping strength to till acres of land, using the might of their own hands, is able to nurture life from seeds and soil that can feed entire nations and has the vision to transform dirt into a living.  We call these beings, small scale farmers. 

Sadly, from the field to our table this natural tale becomes very twisted and longwinded by the message of global big wigs, corporate brand slayers and the ultimate anti-hero, the $ sign. Food, a bear necessity, a basic human right, the essential ingredient for survival has been snatched by a global chronicle that views the crops born from agriculture as just another commodity, that is bought and sold by virtual shopkeepers, dumped when profits are too low and used as a bargaining tool to control demand and supply. 

In Africa, it is time to shatter this recurring storyline! The battle ground, vast and bountiful fields of East Africa- where cassava, millet and sorghum become the ultimate weapons of the people!  Our defenders push back against the garishly coloured masked bandits, who promise gilt and wealth as they continue to devour acres of healthy beautiful rich African soil like a locust plague from years gone by, without a backward glance.

The history of food and the control of its production on the continent has not always been a pleasant one, with millions of Africans dying due to drought and famine, in the not so distant past. The last major drought hitting the Horn of Africa between 2010 and 2012 killed approximately 260,000 people, according to various reports, and pushed world hunger levels to beyond 1billion people who are directly impacted yearly. 

Food aid, subsidies, industrialisation are being touted as the alexia to the endemic crisis but for Africans the solution exists on a couple of hectares of land. With over 70% of the population’s livelihood mainly derived from farming and related activities, or through self-employment on small farms, with less that 20% of production contributing to continental GDP, while more than 13% of food shipped off to far-away lands; all in all, this is not a story worth publishing for many. 

Equipped to protect the population from the contamination of the industrial agriculture sector, with trusted partners like the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), the Kenya Biodiversity Coalition (KBioC) and Greenpeace Africa on their side, small-scale producers are preparing to kick mutant grub to the curb. Like the unsung heroes that farmers are, they will rise up to build a movement across society of smart and willing growers, informed traders and conscious consumers who have broken past the expected norms to provide the tastiest, healthiest and most wanted food sources for Africa, by Africans.  

The triumph can only be achieved when the forces of the voiceless and often unheard are paired up to the strong and connected, when nourishing and health alliances are based of the values of growth and fulfilment of an equally constructive revelation, when small-scale farmers are the architects of their own success and are supported by having access to build their own markets in Africa and wherever else they wish to travel; can we feed ourselves today and tomorrow.

The story is still undone but with all the right ingredients; resilience, diversity, safety and protection of the producers and the ecosystem first, it can be the best story yet told. 

On the 25th of April 2015, Greenpeace Africa, KBIOC and KOAN launched the Food for Life campaign in Nairobi with a celebration of food grown naturally and organically. The goal is for governments in Africa and donors to get to know your farmer and farm workers in order to develop eco-agriculture systems that minimize dependency on external inputs like artificial fertilisers and pesticides.