Wells Fargo is a big security company in Kenya and their headquarters sits in an industrial part of Nairobi, where business parks are dotted between wide, busy roads. Beside the pavements are stagnant, effluent filled streams. It is an unlikely place for a tourist to go.
With my buddy Petra, we were visiting Catherine Kinoti, a charming lady who has an unusual job at Wells Fargo, dividing her time between administrative work and promoting permaculture. After getting through security, she led us across various courtyards with busy car mechanics and a guard dog training centre to find a small kitchen garden. It is the last thing you would expect here. In this small garden, not more than 15x15ft, we found at least 40 species of herbs, vegetables and fruits. It was also equipped with rainwater harvesting, composting and vermiculture, as well as rabbits, quails and chickens.
It all started a few years back when Gai Cullan, Director of Operations at Well’s Fargo went on a permaculture course. She left inspired and is now integrating it into her business in interesting ways. As well as having the kitchen garden, all security guards at the company are offered an introduction to permaculture course which they do with their security training. Catherine says that the security guards take to it well and love the training. Being in Kenya, it’s likely that many of the guards will have a access to a small shamba, allowing them to use their knowledge in their garden designs.
Some of the useful species spotted: pyrethrum, nightshade, amaranth, lucerne, red chilli, passion fruit, bananas, parsley, aloe vera, comfrey, moringa, arrow root, maize, pigeon peas, rabbits, quail, bantam chicken.