— MESA Scholarship Highlight: Peris

Your support towards MESA’s scholarship program will go beyond changing one farmer’s life.

Look at Peris Wanjiru Nderitu from Kenya. She is a farmer and community leader who received a MESA scholarship in 2011 to train in the Grow Biointensive method with Margo and Dan of Circle of the Sun Farm in Ohio. She is now co-directing G-BIACK, the Grow Biointensive Agriculture Center of Kenya which has supported over 14,000 small farmers in reviving traditional and sustainable practices throughout Africa in the past five years!



Peris is the kind of visionary that doesn’t strive to be the center of attention, but leads with a grace and humility that draws people in. She and Samuel, her husband and co-founder of G-BIACK, are widely respected within their local community in Kenya and throughout many countries in Africa. As Peris explains, she used her MESA program to exchange knowledge and hone her leadership skills. She states, “Before I came to MESA, [speaking in front of] a large group, I would get tense and I would feel ‘no this is not me who should be doing this, somebody else better should be doing this’ …But when you’re aware you have the knowledge, you have the power. You can stand and say everything that you know.” After participating in MESA to learn and share with a global network of farmers differing in ages and cultures, but united in restoring their local food systems, Peris felt more confident as a leader. Rather than following the “new” and “improved” methods advertised by multinational companies promoting agrochemicals, fertilizers and seeds throughout Kenya, she demonstrates how it’s better to be self sufficient and use renewable resources and local materials.



We as G-BIACK would like people to go back to how it was before. And people will eat well, people will live well. We have all the resources we need. The knowledge is not being passed from the old to the young so it would be so good if people could get the knowledge that they can use the resources they have around their homes and build and eat well. And for that, we don’t need to copy what we are seeing in the magazines and what we are seeing in the TVs. I think we are OK with what we have because all the resources are within us.”



In more ways than one, Peris is planting seeds of health and resilience and changing lives. Her next goal is to join MESA’s Next Level Program to gain experience in value added processing and nutrition while taking courses in organic agriculture. In Kenya, she says, it is impossible to earn a degree in agriculture that is not focused on chemical agriculture. She aims to earn a degree in organic agriculture or agroecology so when she returns to Kenya, she will be able to accredit G-BIACK as a farmer’s college focused on sustainable agriculture. “I always say that I came on behalf of everybody else in Kenya. I have to tell them what I learned, to help change their lives. When one person is taught I believe we will change the whole community.

Thank you for supporting Peris in her next journey, and for contributing to MESA’s scholarship program!