News & Views

From Tea back to Ecology


The Kamburu community in central Kenya is home to around 80 families. Like many in Kenya, they make a living from tea, a cash crop introduced to the area some 50 years ago. In recent years, the price of tea has dropped dramatically and the market flooded, resulting in tea companies no longer purchasing tea from the communities. As income became less reliable, families struggled to pay for education and health whilst retaining enough income to buy food. To change the situation, community member Gathuru Mburu, with the help of the African Biodiversity Network and The Gaia Foundation, founded the Institute for Culture and Ecology. Mburu began working with local elders who are the knowledge holders of the community. Through ongoing dialogues with both men and women, the community began to recover and cultivate the lost indigenous seeds of the region. Working together, they revived indigenous, ecological farming methods, and saw a transformation in the soil, the livelihoods and the confidence of the Kamburu community.

Photo credits:

Will Baxter and Gaia Foundation

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