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Working In Kenya

Since October 2019 Biocraft has been calling Kenya home.  Kenya is a place of beauty, wonder, kindness and transition.  The wild spaces here have mostly transitioned to monoculture agriculture.  The electrical grid slinked its way to remote villages electrifying the Kenyan people.

Kenya fortunately generates most of all of its power from renewable geothermal energy.  Kenya’s geothermal plants make it a global leader in renewable energy.  The power lines tell the story of progress, linking modern conveniences to the people.  Historically Kenyans knew, loved and associated with the wild. Now, fences separate it from their lives.  Kenya is a country four times larger than of the state of Virginia is losing its wild and replacing it with progress, or the illusion of it.

Biocraft came to Kenya to advocate for Kenyan’s transition to regenerative practices.  Jes has an immense talent to knit people together. Her ability to build effective teams and lasting relationships is why we were invited to collaborate on this project.

Jes partnered with Sistema.Bio, to enhance and build teams instrumental in changing traditions and providing alternatives to environmentally damaging practices.  Sistema.Bio is an global social impact company that provides farmers with alternatives to many destructive practices. For that reason, supporting Sistema.Bio became important to Biocraft.

Its Happening Fast

Kenya is deforesting at of a rate of 81,544 acres a year, 25% of the country has been deforested since 1990.  There are many reasons for this alarming rate, but much of it is based purely on survival.  Three quarters of Kenyans cook, boil water and heat their homes with firewood.  Collecting and transporting firewood is a major part of Kenyan life. Driving the roads here in Kenya, one can see lines of people leaving the forests with logs strapped to their backs.

What do you do when all the trees are gone?

Trees have been replaced by tea, corn, and other crops lead to many problems.   Seasonal rains erode the soil that was once held by tree roots. Because of this, Kenyans watch their future wash away.  Fuel that was once at the community’s door step is now miles away costing time, money and backs.  Shade is gone, and soil is scorched by the unrelenting sun. The forests that once recharged the ground water are gone. The animals once wild find themselves in reserves, jailed by fences. Freedom lost due to climbing population and habitat reduction and poaching.

Solutions come and go and many have been offered for reforestation.

Eucalyptus, has the same story throughout much of the world, it came, it sucked, it stayed.  This non-native invasive plant has become the staple plantation tree in Kenya. Because of this soils are turning to desert and providing little to no habitat for endemic species.  Sure, it grows fast but it also consumes massive quantities of water from an already weakened water table.  The Kenyan government and community are battling a plant with a hundred year legacy. Monoculture tree plantings create dependence on a unsustainable resource.

Enter Sistema.Bio

What do Kenyans have in common? Farms and Cows.  75% of Kenyans make their living farming and livestock is a common element on most farms.  Historically the rich pastoralism culture provides a solution that is quite literally “the shit!”.  Biodigesters are quiet, simple, affordable and regenerative.  Cow Manure is collected, mixed with water, fed into a reactor, and allowed to ferment.  When fermentation is complete, gases including methane are produced, clean burning cooking gas. When the the reactor is full it automatically fills another tank with the waste. This waste is a powerful organic, nutrient-rich bio slurry that can be used as organic fertilizer, is now even being sold as a product, and has been shown to speed up flowering time for immature fruit trees!

Biocraft easily saw the benefit of what Sistema.Bio had to offer.  Communities have been convinced that successful agriculture is dependent upon chemical fertilizer.  Using chemicals, Kenyans spend money unknowingly poising their soils and themselves year after year with promises of better yields. As a result, becoming poorer and diseased.  Sistema.Bio offers a solution to dangerous chemical fertilizers as a byproduct.  Using a biodigester a client can create their own clean cooking gas. Doing this limits firewood use and provides an organic fertilizer for their farms.  The use of a Biodigester does many things, it protects ground water, produces renewable energy, mitigates the release of CO2 and creates an alternative to chemical fertilizers. Above all, Sistema.Bio saves trees.

Biocraft creates relationships, implements strategy and installs technologies to regenerate the planet. Jes’s work in Kenya has continued to shape the role that Biocraft plays in designing ecosystems. As a result, her and her team have been able to empower, conserve and regenerate. Thanks to all of those who continue to support our mission and to companies like Sistema.Bio that we get to partner with.