Food is Medicine

Yiebo’s big “aha” moment came when she realized that eating vegetables was healthier than selling them.

Yiebo started a kitchen garden about five years ago when the community decided growing vegetables would alleviate their poverty.

But, for Yiebo, somehow more gardening didn’t translate into more food security. Why not? She had successful harvests of lettuce, cabbage, carrots, okra, and eggplant. The thing was, she took nearly all of it to the market to sell.

She says, “Every day the basic food of the family was millet porridge and millet paste. My goal was to sell and make money for household expenses.”

Meanwhile, her children were not growing properly and got sick often, and she learned at a prenatal consultation that she herself was anemic. “In the end, all of the income from my garden production went back into medical expenses for the family’s care,” she said.

The tide finally turned for Yiebo when the trainer from local partner SEL spoke about the importance of nutrition and eating a variety of foods for energy, health, and growth. She learned why it’s critical for everyone to eat nutritious food, particularly pregnant and nursing mothers and small children.

“I don’t know why I hadn’t made the connection before,” she said regretfully, “but I was very happy to already have all these types of food in my garden, and began including them in our meals. I now keep the majority of what I grow and only sell what we won’t use. With my earnings I buy fish and meat. Thanks to improved nutrition, I was much healthier during my last pregnancy, and that baby is growing fast! The other children, who were always weak, sick and anemic, are doing great. Our neighbors see the change and appreciate how much better my children are.”

Says Yiebo with satisfaction, “I don’t spend much money on medical expenses now: my garden is our medicine.”

West Africa Program
Led by World Renew and Local Partner Showing Everyone Love (SEL)

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