By Kirk Starratt
A county councillor says she feels excited and humbled to be selected to work with women’s groups in Kenya to improve food security and the health of families.
Patricia Bishop, who owns and operates TapRoot Farms in Starr’s Point with husband Josh Oulton, is volunteering with Farmers Helping Farmers. She’s working with the Muchui and the Ruuju women’s groups to improve vegetable production and marketing.
She hopes her work with the women will increase their ability to earn money on their farms by learning more about how to plant for a continuous supply of sellable vegetables available from their gardens each week. Bishop is providing professional support to the groups for three weeks, concluding Feb. 16.
“This project aims to improve the food security and health of these women and their families who live in a very dry area north of Meru in Kenya,” Bishop said. “The project has provided either a greenhouse or a screened kitchen garden with drip irrigation to the women so they can produce vegetables for their families and have some to sell.”
Each dollar donated to the project would be matched by three dollars from the Canadian International Development Agency, she added.
Bishop said she decided to apply for the position in October. She discovered Farmers Helping Farmers a couple years ago and was immediately interested. However, the timing wasn’t right for her to get involved until now.
Bishop said she is nervous about being away for several weeks, especially considering there is so much going on at county council.
“I’m also nervous about whether or not my contributions will be useful to the women that Farmers Helping Farmers is working with,” Bishop said. “My hope is that all things will work out for the best for everyone, at home and here in Kenya, and that I won’t let people down in either place.”
Farmers Helping Farmers is a small non-government organization with approximately 100 volunteer members, based in Prince Edward Island. They’ve worked in Kenya for 32 years to support farming groups, mainly women, to improve the lives of their families with capital support and training.
To see a photo of the area where Bishop is volunteering, visit www.kingscountynews.ca