Peace from the Soil
An Interview with Emmanuel Karisa Baya

May 18, 2019

Interview by
Joanna Harcourt-Smith

In this week’s episode Emmanuel Karisa Baya speaks with Joanna about: a prayer answered from the soil; his beginnings as a farmer; learning to listen to the soil from the heart; feeling the love from the soil; creating the Magarini Center & Organic Demonstration Farm; the soil will let you know what to do; from traditional farming to learning organic farming in Japan; natural crop protection; children learning that loving the soil is loving ourselves; supporting 252 children and families; asking the soil for water in a long drought; learning conflict resolution at the Deep Democracy Institute; the singing of the plants; recreating our broken relationship with Nature through the trees; singing back peace.

Emmanuel Karisa Baya was born into a farming family in rural Kenya. “The soil will give you everything you need”, his mother taught him before she passed when he was 6. His father passed when he was 9 but he had already the soil speaking to him deep in his body. Through grit and fortune, Emmanuel managed to obtain an education, eventually becoming an accountant at a Five Star Hotel. The soil called him back to the land however and he left the security of a salary for the risks and life of farming. Witnessing children not attending school, his heart broke open to them as he learned three of four were orphans and the last simply too hungry to walk the long distances to school. He began feeding these children food from his own fields and eventually enlisted a community volunteer to help teach them. This was the start of what is now The Magarini Children Center and Organic Demonstration Farm. Expecting he would never leave his small rural village, Emmanuel has now certified in Permaculture and Community Leadership in Japan at the Asian Rural Institute, and through the Process Works and Deep Democracy Institutes, he has studied Group facilitation and Peace Building in eight nations. And while listening to the plants and soil sing to him, he now provides a goverment certified education and feeds 252 children at the Magarini Children Centre. Here, he also teaches the practice of finding Peace from the Soil. Integrating his skills as an organic farmer with his formal studies and indigenous wisdom, he has navigated escalating conflict between pastoralists and farmers into a sustained respect for the ways and lifestyles of what were once seen as enemies.

“I Can’t Sit Still”, original music by Evarusnik

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