WATCH | Kenyan mushroom farmer: 'For women it changes everything'

Wangari Kuria is founder and CEO of Farmer on Fire, an organisation based in Nairobi, Kenya. Kuria's lack of land didn't prevent her farming and she began mushroom cultivation at her home.

“I started mushroom farming after I lost my job and I wasn't getting rehired and I didn't have a huge piece of land to start with. I was figuring what plant I can grow in a small space that would give me money. That's when I landed on mushrooms.”

Wangari reaches out to farmers, agri-preneurs and industry professionals, offering practical solutions to gain an income and feed their families. According to her website, Wangari has instructed more than 12,500 people about modern farming in Kenya and beyond.

“For me, it's an opportunity to help other women also be economically empowered by a nutritional crop and a crop that helps decompose the world. People can grow mushrooms in rural areas and in urban areas. The idea of Farmer on Fire is to focus on women and youths who want to contribute significantly to their food security but don't know how to start. Through a bit of technical scaling, they are able to make money and bring dignity to their lives,” she said.

Kuria was in New York for the Global Citizen NOW summit on May 2 and 3. The summit sought to drive action to end extreme poverty. Leaders from public policy, media, entertainment, philanthropy, advocacy and the private sector convened for two days, focused on “taking action today to save tomorrow”.

Wangari recently won the continental prize in the Forty under 40 Africa Awards in South Africa and the Global Citizen prize in New York for her work in agriculture and efforts in policy, economic empowerment, food security and routes to markets for produce in Kenya and Africa.

Beninese-born actor Djimon Hounsou, who starred in Blood Diamond and Gladiator, also attended the Global Citizen NOW summit. Hounsou is an advocate for ending energy poverty in Africa. His personal foundation, the Djimon Hounsou Foundation, focuses on strengthening pan-African identity and self awareness.



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