July 2, 2020

Building a landscape restoration enterprise

Building a landscape restoration enterprise 

Over the past years we’ve successfully demonstrated the potential of landscape restoration activities in the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem. Our projects show the positive impacts these restoration activities have on the environment, society and the local economy. Now we want to take this to the next level, by transforming our grass seed banks into self-sustainable landscape restoration enterprises. Let us explain to you how this works! 

What currently happens at our grass seed banks?
Grass seed banks are small parts of communal rangelands that are used for the production of grass seeds. The grasses that grow on the grass seed banks are protected by a so-called living fence of local shrubs to keep wildlife and livestock out. As soon as the grasses are big enough, they produce grass seeds. The Maasai pastoralists who maintain the grass seed banks harvest these grass seeds, which can be used to help regreen degraded land within the community or be sold to other landscape restoration projects.

Building a landscape restoration enterprise
Our next step in regard to the grass seed bank projects is to build landscape restoration enterprises based on selling the harvested grass seeds. Our aim is to improve economic opportunities for the local communities while restoring degraded landscapes. This works as follows: 

  • Selling grass seeds to third parties generates a source of income. This provides the people working on the grass seed banks with an income and supports them in their livelihoods.  
  • The grass seed banks are a green oasis in a barren area: Insects and small animals are returning, which stimulates the recovery of the ecosystem and enables more vegetation to start growing.
  • The seeds are sold to other landscape restoration projects, which will add to the regreening of other areas as well.
  • It will also help to maintain indigenous rangeland grasses which are often neglected and underdeveloped in terms of market and conservation.

Meet our new landscape entrepreneur: Emmanuel!
Emmanuel Atamba Oriedo is our brand-new landscape restoration enterprise developer! He is going to set up these landscape restoration enterprises for us in Kenya. His focus will be on developing a business plan and looking for potential partners to sell the grass seeds to. He will also explore other landscape restoration activities and products such as hay, medicinal herbs and spices and many others that will not only contribute to landscape restoration in these areas, but also generate income for the communities. 

Emmanuel is a Kenyan expert in food and farming systems. He has worked with multiple communities to build the collective action for poverty eradication, food security and sustainable agriculture development. He is also an agri-food entrepreneur and co-founded two companies focusing on sustainable agriculture, harmony between farming communities and the environment. And he is also a vegan, one of the few in Kenya – for all the above reasons!

“I am super excited to join Justdiggit! Within my function I will contribute to eradicating hunger in some of the hardest environments, supporting livelihoods and bettering the lives of communities while reversing the effects of climate change and negative impacts of our activities on earth. The most exciting part of this job is that I will be working with the communities: developing and implementing sustainable enterprises which will not only help to improve the livelihoods of these communities, but also support our landscape restoration efforts and be self-sustaining going into the future.”