WHO WE ARE
My name is Beatrice Kamau. I have a few years’ experience in a nursing career and a lifelong experience in farming, having spent my childhood and early adult life in an agricultural community in Kenya. As a Chicago resident, I maintain a backyard garden where I grow flowers, vegetables and herbs for my own consumption. Currently, I am an incubator farmer at Urban Growers Collective, where I grow vegetables, herbs, mushrooms and I also do beekeeping.
Joining the Chicago Farm lab in 2017 gave me the opportunity to enhance my knowledge in growing various plants and sharing my knowledge with the community. I am learning how to creatively grow food, interact with community members of various backgrounds, improve access to local, fresh nutritious food, and gain hands-on practice and knowledge with beekeeping. I have gained a lot of knowledge in environmental education on sustainability and waste management.
The experience I am gaining through my association with the Chicago farm lab is teaching me that growing successfully takes more than reading books on plants and watching videos on farming. It requires trial and error, learning from one’s mistakes and those of others. Since not everything planted will grow, it is important to be patient. One can start by growing easy to grow plants and using good growing media, that will help keep pests away and give tastier and nutrient dense harvests.
If more women get involved with growing edible plants, there will be numerous benefits to our community and our environment, including saving money on groceries, accessing fresh local nutritious foods, beautifying the environment, and encouraging beneficial insects to flourish. Greenery also reduces run-off from precipitation, fixes carbon through photosynthesis, adds aesthetic appeal that provides a restful environment, thus reducing stress.
I am happy to share my knowledge with the community and as always, I am ready to learn more about growing plants for nutritional and environmental benefits.