Friday’s are for Farm Club!

Photos and Text by Robyn Brown 

The school week ends with farm club and this week the activity was mixing soil with students from Class Seven and Eight!

The Farm Club was set up in 2016 by Joanna Stutchbury, who was a renowned Kenyan conservationist. It began to thrive in 2017 when Kennedy Lemaiyan, who is the Community Outreach Officer for Save the Elephants, took charge by involving kids in organic gardening and activities. The original role of the Farm Club was purely for education purposes, and has since has evolved as a way of providing food and supplementing  school meals as well. The aim is that eventually the garden will become the sole supplier of food for the children throughout the week, currently there isn’t enough being harvested to fully maintain the school’s kitchen.


The garden is home to a range of fruit and vegetables including kale, chilli, cabbage, spinach, okra, and green grams to name only a few. They are currently rain fed, meaning they rely on the rain for them to grow. Sadly, it hasn’t rained properly yet this year,  making it even harder to harvest the growing food.

Victor Ndombi coordinates  the farm club and helps maintain the garden alongside Alfred Mwadimu and Jacinter Ponga,  with the support from teachers. Victor specialises in permaculture and organic farming with a hope to eventually go on to complete a masters in organic agriculture – specialising in agroecology.

Seated around the outdoor classroom, the circle structure is the perfect spot to relax in the shade as we begin the lesson. The club is open to children from classes 6 – 8 who want to attend. The group of children are split into two groups for the lesson’s activity. Group One is instructed to take one of the wheelbarrows and bring topsoil back into the garden whilst group Two took to shovel compost into their wheelbarrow from inside the garden. The soil must be supplemented with compost as it has low organic carbon and nitrogen levels, by mixing the soil and compost they are increasing the soil fertility.

Group One had a lot of fun cantering the wheelbarrow around, with a few jumping on for rides in between the garden and the location of the topsoil – which was just the other side of the track behind the trees. Some of the children wanted a photo of them and their friends which I was more than happy to take. Below is a photo of some of the Class Eight students who I have met during the Wednesday school lessons.

As they all stand with their masks on, I am sadly reminded that most of them should have been in high school already, but Covid-19 meant the school closed and they had no means of online education. As someone who had half of their university teaching move online due to Covid-19, it is a good reality check to remember just how lucky I was to be in a position where I could continue my education and finish university.

Group Two stayed within the garden and shovelled compost up into the wheelbarrows. I was impressed by the energy and enthusiasm from all the children, working hard on a hot Friday afternoon.

After multiple trips from each group, the two piles containing topsoil and compost where then mixed. The students took turns using the spades and all gathered around to watch and encourage each other.

Fruit and veg is grown in sacks and old tyres, this makes them easy to move around and they do not rely on the soil directly from the ground which is lacking in nutrients. Using materials that are readily available makes the organic farm more sustainable. No pesticides or chemicals are used within the ‘Harmony Organic Garden’.

Once all the soil had been thoroughly mixed with the help of the students and Victor we returned to the seated outdoor classroom and discussed what we had learnt and recapped the reasons; for mixing the soil, what soil fertility meant and any other questions that arose during the lesson.









The views, opinions and position expressed in this article belong solely to the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the policy and position of Save the Elephants


Leave a Reply