She bought each of her children a cock and hen. The birds were free-range; we joyfully fed them with grains and dutifully swept their droppings into our compost heap. I enjoyed counting my hen’s eggs while she sat, and was flabbergasted to see the chicks emerge! When we put stems of mature vegetables on the compost heap, seeds sprouted into green plants and I watched them become the vegetables for our table. Wow! My first vegetable garden was born.
My early fascinations found an outlet in secondary school when I chose to work on the school farm instead of learning carpentry. This led to a long career as a commodity crops researcher. In retirement, my home garden of dry season vegetables plus snail farming fetched me returns four times my annual salary, with only three months’ production.
Yaya Adisa Olaitan Olaniran is the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Former Chair of the Committee on World Food Security