WHY THE DEMAND FOR ORGANIC FOODS IS GROWING

Organic Farmers are HEROES.
Peter Wendt

If you follow the Organic Farmers Market in Nairobi which I have for a couple of years,you may have noticed that  there are now more places where they have organized for Kenyans to buy organic food as well as more  vendors,  which means there has been an increase in the demand for organic food from the Kenyan market.

You must have wondered about what all the noise is  about Organic farming and why suddenly there has been a surge in the demand as well as consumption of organic produce. I thought this post would be  helpful in helping us appreciate organic farming  as well as  see why the demand for organic food has grown.

Organic farming is a system of agricultural production that involves the cultivation of crops and the rearing of animals using natural ways.

Conserve Energy defines it as a process that involves the use of biological materials,avoiding synthetic substances to maintain soil fertility and ecological balance thereby minimizing pollution and wastage.With a world population that is more than 7 billion and a land size that remains the same yet it is fighting with encroachment from human settlement,the demand for arable land is on the rise and people are looking for all manner of ways to make the most of the available land and animal resources.

One of the ways unscrupulous people have found to get more from their land and animals in order to make a few quick dollars is to pump it with chemicals,pesticides as well as speed up the maturity of farm animals like chicken by injecting them with growth hormones.

The bottom line in all of these endeavors is not a concern for the people who will eventually buy these foods from the supermarkets,it is profit  greed that is the only driver for such practices that puts the lives of other  human lives at risk.

It is true organic food costs more , because of the work involved as it is a very labor intensive exercise.It is also true that you expose yourself to less risk if you choose to go organic.

About 4 years back,I lived on a farm in Nakuru where we grew vegetables and other crops I also took up some organic farming on the side as an experiment project as well as to keep me busy.

My crops of choice were potatoes,zucchinis,carrots , to prepare I read widely and found that potatoes do very well especially if you mix dried manure into the soil and so I went about asking for dung from the farmers that owned cows around where we lived.I got a lot of it as well as a lot of curious looks as to what I needed cow dung it for.

But the venture came with a lot of challenges as well.The area where we lived was infested with moles ,how to get rid of them without using chemicals?

And we set about looking for a mole catcher,they do not exist anymore by the way and before we found we had a village of molehills on the farm as well as lost a lot of potatoes.

Up until the time we harvested the potatoes and carrots I never used a single drop of pesticide on them and they did fairly well.They potatoes and carrots came in all manner of sizes and we lost some as well to pests,but I had done it ,grown something without use of a single pesticide or chemical.

The need for organic farming is driven by the need for more sustainable methods of farming  that ensure we will still be able to produce enough food 50 years from now on when the world population is estimated will be at more than 10 billion.

For those that have tasted organically grown fruits and vegetables you  agree with me that they taste better than what you get from the supermarket shelves.Eggs from free range chicken are also more tastier ,have a yolk with the must delicious yellow color   and just a bit smaller than the eggs  that you get at the supermarket.

We consume a variety of pesticides and chemicals from foods like chicken,beef and other dairy products as well as from fruits and vegetables .The chemicals from pesticides and other  drugs  like antibiotics used to treat these animals have found their way  into our food and we have started seeing resistance to the  most widely available antibiotics used to treat very common infections.

Scientists are having to work very hard to keep up with the microbial mutations  are now resisting the currently available antibiotics.

These resistance is leaving scientists and researchers worried as it means the increased resistance by disease  causing bacteria to these drugs will expose us to infections which currently available  antibiotics will not be able to treat.

The discovery of the latest antibiotic was reported this April and it was done by Canadian scientists,it was the first in antibiotic  discovery in 3 decades 30 years  and the drug is still years away from being available to the public.

The increasing public awareness on what is going on,increasing incidences of disease  and the effects of environmentally unsustainable  decades of farming methods have pushed organic farming  front and centre.

If you are in Nairobi, follow the Organic Farmers Market on Facebook to see where the market  will be next and get to interact with the farmers working hard to ensure we produce food in a more sustainable ad environmentally friendly manner than we are d right now.

Why is organic farming important and why should you care,I have a few reasons  to think about why organic matters and who knows maybe you may take it up or talk to someone about it then we have a  new generation  of organic farmers.We may even meet at the Organic market.

1.Buying organic foods  creates a demand in the market and  will push farmers to be more responsible especially  over the use of pesticides and other chemicals as they grow crops or rear their animals.This is already happening in some countries where consumers are demanding more responsibility over the use of drugs and pesticides.

In this way we are promoting a more sustainable model that ensures the earth is able to feed the future generations that  come after us.

2.Buying organic foods means that you get the foods fresh,these foods have not been treated with any preservatives or had nay additives added to them to lengthen their shelf life.

The shelf life of organic foods is  very short because of their very minimal  journey from the farm to your plate  which is what has encouraged the farm to fork movement  globally and has had people support local farmers by buying local foods.

3.Buying organic has helped  promoted the growth of agriculture as a means of livelihood especially among young people. Across the globe young adults are taking up agriculture and providing us with food.It has  helped stem the increase in the number of the unemployed,helped increase food production as well as seen technology revolutionize farming.Europe has seen the number of its youthful population taking up farming,you may find this article from The Economist really interesting.

In Kenya as well we have several groups on social media platforms talking nothing but farming.See how dailies are falling over themselves to provide information on farming especially in the Saturday paper .

Young people are going back to the farms to ensure there is food for the more than 7 billion of us.

4.Buying organic and consuming organic ensures you know where your food comes from,how it gets produced and what goes into the production process.You are  reducing your exposure to  the  chemical toxins that could put you at risk of developing certain life threatening conditions through the ingestion of chemicals that may have been used in their production ,processing or packing.

5.By buying organic you get to interact  with the farmers that grow your food and there are benefits to that.There is nothing like meeting the person or people that put so much work to ensure you do not go hungry and appreciating the work they do.Human interaction especially in an age where technology is taking over  how we socialize with each other,a conversation with another human being is always  a great way to spend the weekend.I think one of the reasons people in big cities like Nairobi are always angry and stressed is because we speak so little to each to other,yet we know  healthy relationships are part of living a fulfilled and healthy lifestyle.

6.Taking your children with you to the organic market for  grocery shopping and let them feel,touch,sell and taste food.As I mentioned in an earlier post  taking your children grocery shopping is a  way of getting them  involved in meal planning and ensuring they adopt healthy eating habits early in life.

They will get to know how to choose fresh ingredients,how fresh food looks like and most important they will learn to value the hard work of the people like farmers who work behind the scenes to make sure we get fed.

And just in case your children  hardly ever get to travel upcountry,they will know food does not grow in the supermarket :-).

7.Buying organic is an opportunity to increase the awareness on more sustainable forms of agriculture and hopefully this will lead to legislation by governments as well as  push them to develop policies that can protect as well as promote organic farming.

Do you buy or grown organic food?would you love to be featured on our blog,please get in touch with us.

As always your feedback,comments and suggestions are welcome.See you in the comments section.

 

 

 

 

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF BEING A WOMAN

Father of the bride

Remember this  movie by Steve Martin ,Father of the Bride ,it had a sequel to it….i cried at the end of both movies and every time i watch repeats i cry too.

Then  when  i started reading Danielle Steel Novels in my pre teens, it was to find  myself in tears whenever any character in the  book died .

I love going to weddings,  gushing over newborns and rubbing my cheek against my husbands beard.

And when i meet a girlfriend(s) for lunch or coffee  it is total bliss because we talk for hours!

Things men do not understand.

Well, men need not wonder any more because that is how little girls and not so little girls are and we meant to be.

A friend allowed me to borrow her book ,Bringing up Girls by James Dobson .

The book ended up bringing me to  understanding and  and acceptance of  myself just as i am.

Like the way my brain is wired right from conception is astounding.

Female brains have been designed in a way that is  very different from men’s.

In the book Dr Dobson who  a  former professor  of Paediatrics at  the University of Southern California school of medicine  says that a girls corpus callosum,the massive rope of fibres that connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain is 25% larger than a males.

A womans brain is like a revved up  Harley Davidson engine ,we do not have a turn off button.

We never seem to stop thinking.

Sometimes I  go to bed thinking about 20 things i need to do and the next morning i just pick up my thoughts from where i left off.

See why we are so good at multi tasking.

And we seem to never stop talking.

We do love to talk and we express ourselves more than men.

The right hemisphere of  our brain processes emotion and the left   is where language is focused.

And the connection between the two is like a super highway,it is the reason we communciate better as well as feel emotion more and express ourselves more than

We are  good at knowing things without exactly knowing why,  picking up subtle cues in social interactions and cannot even explain how .

It  is great to be a woman.

Women derive so much pleasure from conversations with other women  , think about all the talk shows that have thrived on this need to communicate .

Men can attest to this because when a woman runs into a friend what was supposed to  be a brief hello turns  into a recap of the past week …  in detail.

Social media is also a great example……the need to connect ,share and communicate is so innate in us we dominate every social media network.

Yes,it is alright to have a female brain and to celebrate  the unique and beautiful way we have been created and  to leave the world  a better place  for the next generation.

I absolutely love being a woman.

And if you missed it,here is  my Father’s day post.

Share in the comments sections the things you love about being a woman.

Xo,

Ina

SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE

Two years ago,Facebook groups brought together people with common interests.

There were no rules then on how one should conduct themselves .

It was not uncommon to see a few virtual fights here and there.

I developed a few rules for myself which I shared with other members of the group.

Following the overwhelming positive response ,I am re- writing them as a blog post.

Social Media Poster

The rules apply to whatever forum you find yourself on.

1.The internet never forgets,whatever you post be it positive or negative will find its way back to you and sometimes in unpleasant ways.

2.Be nice:Whether you are commenting on a blog post or any other public forum,it will earn you respect .

3.Be helpful:Is your comment helpful,inspiring and well thought out.Then use it.

4.Be relevant:Do not post irrelevant comments online.

5.Ignore;If anyone is being rude or bullying you online,snub them.

6.Think:Before you tag or upload a photo of yourself or anyone else,carefully consider the image anyone viewing the photo will have.If it is unflattering don’t do it.

7.Be decent:What would your grand mother think?Yes,that photo you think is really flattering and has got you 220 likes on Instagram would not impress your grandmother.

Maridadi love,

Ina

SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS THE COCA COLA WAY

Photo credits:www.coca-cola company.com
Photo credits:www.coca-cola company.com

Coca Cola has to be the most recognizable brand worldwide.

The company’s story that started in 1886,through the curiosity of an Atlanta pharmacist Dr Pemberton continues to grow and is now a global brand.

On twitter the brand has 2.94 million followers,and more than 89.5 million fans on Facebook.

Coca Cola’s social media success is largely due to a couple of things which all aspiring business hoping to be just as successful can learn from.

1.Consistency

A thorough  understanding of how different social media platforms work has seen  brand  leverage the strengths of each particular channel to market the brand, while keeping the message across all  channels consistent.

Coca Cola has been able to complement its main brand channels with regional pages and brand pages for some of its niche products like Diet Cola.

By maintaining  a cohesive brand message,they have been able to use different tactics on the various channels to maintain a consistent brand image.

2.Engagement

The engagement Coca Cola has with its audience is fantastic.

We all love our names,now add seeing your name on a Coke bottle or can and Coca Cola had a winning campaign.

Their Share a Coke Campaign was a huge success ..

The campaign that started in Australia in the summer of 2011 saw Coca Cola sell 250 million bottles in a nation of just 23 million.

The campaign has quickly spread t 70 other countries.

And this year the US on May 1st is relaunching the campaign dubbed Share a Coke 2.0

3.Direct engagement

Coca Cola has kept up with its mentions on Twitter.

The brand knows how to give back love to its fans and followers.

By channeling country specific issues to their regional hotlines,this attention to detail has been largely successful for its growth on twitter.

It is almost guaranteed that if you tweet @Coca-cola,you are going to get a reply !

4.Influence.

By being strategic and informed  about the power   of social influencers,Coca Cola understood about the power of having people talking about your brand.

The right choice of influencer can advance  your market reach,entice followers to follow your social account as well as sway your audience towards a particular campaign.

5.Content.

You will never go wrong with content that is captivating.

And captivating content is the one that has a story behind it.

One of their campaigns dubbed a billion reasons for Africa captivated me so much i had to write a blog post about it.

We all love stories and Coca Cola has become great at telling stories with its brand through out its history.

6.Fun

Coca Cola knows not everyone likes to hear sales pitches all the time.

That is why they have managed to keep their marketing messages and fun and interactive without their audiences feeling like they are listening to sales pitches.

So go on have a coke!

DIGITAL SRAMBLE FOR DATA

Almost two and a half years ago i discovered a way to check the statistics on a couple of pages on Facebook.

Then the data available was on how many users were checking onto the page ,at what time they were checking into each page and their age groups.

Now it is no longer possible to do so.

But i wrote a post on the best possible times to post on social media.

Today corporates and governments have discovered the virtual gold mine we are sitting on.

It almost feels like the scramble for Africa all over again.

Pew

The profiles of social media users are tickets to new products and services and tweaking of products and services to suit an increasingly demanding population.

In September 2014,the Pew Research Center released a report on social media use of American adults,Facebook beat all other platforms to remain as the most popular.

At least 70% of Facebook users interact with the site at least once a  day

If we compare this with Twitter usage.

We find that only 23% of internet users use the platform and of these only 19% of the entire adult population.

Instagram has continued to see steady increase too with 26% of internet users and 21% of the entire adult population.

More women are most likely to be active on Pinterest,Instagram and Facebook than men.

They spend far more time on social media sites than men.

And that is where marketers and product developers should be looking .

Let the scramble begin!

KENYAN APPS :REVISION 844

blog-post

In March there was the  2nd  annual Kenya ICT conference at the Kenyatta International Conference.

The event was held between the   2nd and 3rd of March this year.

There were a lot of conference attendants  and the exhibitors were absolutely smashing  with their applications.

And one of turned out to be a personal favorite.

An application,Kenyan if i may point out that and it aims at making revision fun and exciting.

With relatively few resources available for online learning,Revision 844 was launched in October 2014 and covers the Kenyan school curriculum from classes 4-8.

By making revision for exams a fun and interactive experience that can be done anywhere , anytime,the application seeks to provide better information for parents/guardians on a child’s revision progress.

For parents the application seeks to provide an ever growing source of  quality and relevant content  to give children a pleasant and beneficial learning experience.

The developers are working with the best teachers in  the top performing schools in The Kenya Certificate for Primary Education examinations held annually to develop content.

The national exam helps place primary  school students in high school and placement  is solely dependent on performance.

The developers dreams go further than Kenya,they would like to launch it in as many African countries as they can.Elementary school education in most African countries is pretty much almost the same and the platform the application operates on is flexible enough to see it adapted to a country’s educational needs.

If you are a parent reading this,get the application on your smart phone and let your child give it a try.

Do ensure you get back to us with feedback on the experience.

Go Revision 844 Team!

FACEBOOK GETS SUED IN THE EU

Max
Max Schrems is a privacy activist. Photo credits:www.vienna.at

Maximilian Schrems or Mark Schrems  to his friends and fans is someone you  need to know.

He is a 27 year old privacy activist suing Facebook for breach of Eu privacy laws.

He has brought together 25,000 users,who are suing the social media site for breach of privacy laws in Austria.

The case has been brought against Facebook’s European headquarters in Dublin-Ireland, that registers all user accounts outside of the US and Canada.

The law suit , filed in Vienna in the past few weeks  accuses Facebook of using illegal tracking to collect data as well as its involvement with the United states National Security Agency.

The case will be heard in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

It has attracted a further 55,000 users who have agreed to join the procedures at a later date.

Additional coverage from the Guardian