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Roots of the FutureThe businesses regenerating Africa’s soils

Case Study on Tamalu Farm

Tamalu Farm is an agroforestry and market gardening project in Kenya, the aim of which is to lead the region’s transition towards better land stewardship for small to medium scale farms.

The story behind Tamalu Farm Tamalu Farm is the first of a planned series of demonstration sites that progressive agricultural services provider L.E.A.F Africa is developing in Kenya. L.E.A.F. started work in 2018 to build Kenya’s first open-source demonstration farm for a range of profitable regenerative agriculture enterprises including agroforestry, market gardening, and pasture-raised poultry. The site, situated on the slopes of Mount Kenya, was brought back to life after over a decade of neglect when L.E.A.F. started production in January 2019, serving customers of its own brand, ForestFoods. The farm manager’s story Fredrick Kipchumba, an agronomist by training, speaks of how he gradually became aware of the problems of long- term degradation of Kenya’s soils. He first heard about Tamalu Farm’s work in 2018. Having already decided that he wanted to work in regenerative agriculture, he knew he wanted to get directly involved in its more sustainable production methods and demonstrate their benefits to a wider audience.

Their approach Tamalu Farm’s approach is grounded in syntropic agroforestry, a dynamic system that integrates all seven layers of a forest in an agricultural landscape. This fosters increased social, economic, and environmental benefits for its users. Syntropic agroforestry mimics and accelerates natural succession processes to capture carbon, water, nutrients and biodiversity in degraded and undeveloped land. Tamalu Farm’s one-acre market garden consists of a growing space with over 80 varieties of integrated fruit, vegetable, herb, native and timber tree species. They sell directly to customers through a subscription model, and they offer educational farm visits so that they can see how their food is grown and understand the different ways of managing land. The farm plans to expand by setting up ForestFoods farms across the country and a logistics and distribution hub in Nairobi with an integrated supply chain. To help them advance towards these goals, L.E.A.F. Africa recently joined the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre in 2020 through the Commercial Forestry programme, in partnership with the economic development foundation Gatsby Africa.

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