Written by egbe adeta


One of the memories of my childhood is a kitchen garden. My paternal grandfather on one of his visits cultivated a small area in the backyard and planted ewedu (jute leaf), soko: red & green (I hardly see the red variant of soko these days) and in their season we would have an abundance of this vegetables in the house. We moved house and that practice died but now after several decades, I have resuscitated this practice and now grow sundry vegetables around my home in a small patch of soil and in pots as well. I have even taken this practice intertwined with childhood memories a notch further because in a little while I will be concluding a contractual agreement with a middle-aged man from Benue state who will farm a piece of land bequeathed to me.

freshly picked jute leaves (ewedu)

Here are the basic terms of the agreement:

  • He farms the land; luckily it is within a vicinity he can reach by walking. This man walks everywhere. Why? He enjoys it– he had told me if the land was not within a walkable distance he wasn’t interested. (He could dictate to me because he has a skill set I do not have)
  • He harvests, sells & pockets all proceeds all I get in return are produce from the land—perfect for me and that’s just what the agreement is about essentially.

This piece of land is in the suburbs and it is a fast developing area.

I know I am never going to build—because I choose to farm it. Considering how food is another big expense item after accommodation and education that takes away a chunk of my income. I honestly believe I am better off in the long-term farming that piece of land than building it. What about the opportunity cost of my choice? Lets just say I am more interested in my overall well-being than any economic benefit (rental income). And more so I will gain some savings from buying less of my food (I am realistic and recognize that some food items must be bought e.g. brown rice: ofada)


  • You eat in-season foods
  • Availability & easy access: You harvest them as needed this ensures high nutrient content. Freshly cut vegetables from a backyard garden still ooze out cellulose which is the indigestible fiber present in all plant foods. Dietary fibre of which cellulose is a component satiates your hunger better than any fake food and increases intestinal bulk hence improving bowel movement.
  • Almost zero cost. Cost of keeping a kitchen/backyard garden is close to nil and the maintenance cost of a subsistence farm is near negligible in comparison to the rewards that accrue.
  • Free of harmful chemicals: Organic compost are used instead of harmful chemical fertilizers
  • Crop rotation is practiced which is necessary to maintain soil health
Demerits of growing some of your food

I can’t think of any demerits if anyone thinks there are please post them in the comment section

All in all the agreement is a win win I get nutrient rich produce and the other party earns an income from his skill. The game of life is not zero sum.

Be well.

Egbe is an unrepentant herb user, a health enthusiast and an avid reader who loves to share her commonsense approach to nutrition.

About the author

egbe adeta

Egbe is an unrepentant herb user, a health enthusiast and an avid reader who loves to share her commonsense approach to nutrition.

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