Former MESA Steward Philip Munyasia is applying what he learned at Ecology Action in California to start OTEPIC, his Home Country Project, in Kenya!
Philip’s Home Country Project is based in Kitale, part of the Kenyan highlands that comprise some of the most agriculturally
productive regions in Africa. By engaging the local population and introducing Biointensive Agricultural practices, Philip has spread techniques like crop rotation, composting, companion planting and double digging to grow food for their community in economically efficient and environmentally supportive ways. This is especially important in his community, where much of the region suffers from drought and seasonal food shortages. Environmental issues stemming from water pollution from increased pesticide and fertilizer use, soil erosion and desertification also plague the country.
In 2009, OTEPIC purchased land for a small farm, which they use for education, demonstration, development and research to further promote sustainable living. Read more about this Home Country Project from Philip’s first-hand account:
Sponsored by MESA, I travelled from a little village in Kitale, Kenya to Ecology Action, a non-profit educational center located in Willits, California to learn about their agricultural system called, GROW BIOINTENSIVE®. John Jeavons, Ecology Action’s Executive Director, with a prime-time smile and the confidence of a gladiator, equipped us with more knowledge than a dog has fleas. He gave us a treasury of exciting ideas
to offer a bounty for the table from the soil. It was so fun, and those magic moments further inspired my own pursuit of gardening.
When I came back to Kenya, I helped start a project called Organic Technology Extension and Promotion of Initiative Centre (OTEPIC). OTEPIC is a registered community based organization that fosters grassroots development projects, which consist of; collaborating closely with farmers in areas of food security, soil fertility management and maximizing the usage of locally available resources, supporting sustainable energy by encouraging farmers to make briquettes, advocating for animal rights because we believe that animals have right to live and express normal behavior, and providing nutritional education especially for those affected with HIV/AIDS in Kitale.
OTEPIC believes that agriculture has such profound effects on the environment, human health, and the social order. It is a critical part of any movement toward sustainability; one that could help to solve problems of energy and world hunger.
MESA donated funds for training groups of farmers in our communities. Since then, MESA’s Executive Director, Lauren and the entire MESA staff has supported us in all our efforts, including providing indispensable ideas, chockfull of practical suggestions on how to run the organization effectively. We appreciate their continual acts of thoughtfulness and kindness that brighten each day. What they did for us, will glow in our memory forever, reviving pleasant feelings every time we think about it.
Quoting one of our community farmers, “I harvested two beds of vegetables. I got 1,000 Kenya shillings, which paid for school fees for my children who were sitting for final exam.”
Through OTEPIC we have become revolutionary artists who make it possible to grow food so that our world will be whole and powerful again. We all can help make the water a little cleaner, the trees little happier, the sky a little bluer and the world a little closer to the way it was made.
To read more about Philip’s Home Country Project and OTEPIC’s
efforts, please visit: