John's story: Becoming an expert seed collector
Through our mission, we empower communities in our project areas by providing the dignity of fair employment to restore their land. Since joining our team, John Gitau has found a stable income to support his family and an avenue to pursue his passion for the environment.
John is a seed collector at our Matathia nursery, located on the Great Rift Valley floor in Kenya. At 15 years old, John dropped out of school because his family could not afford his school fees. To supplement his family's income, he began working casual jobs such as welding and selling milk from his family cow. When we opened the nursery in 2020, John joined our team after several years of working inconsistent jobs.
Shortly after joining our team, the Matathia nursery manager, Caren Cheruto, noticed John's interest in seed collection.
"He would bring to the nursery seeds he collected on his way home or when tending to livestock. He also liked accompanying me during seed collection trips. Since he knows the local names of most of the trees, he made it easy to communicate with the seed supply farmers about the kinds of seeds we need for the nursery," Caren says.
John and Caren collecting Dombeya torrida seeds.
John's passion for seed collection started long before he joined our team. While herding cows in the forest near his home, John would come across trees ripe with healthy seeds and pick them, even though he didn't know what to do with them. When we hired him, he found an opportunity to use the seeds from the forest.
To help boost the local economy, John helps identify which seeds we purchase from local farmers. He says the community is now more conversant with seed collection and tree management, thanks to the training they get from our staff members.
Since John joined our team, he has seen the quality of his life improve with the stable income he earns to support his family. He has built himself a new home and continues cultivating his passion for seed collecting and forest restoration.
Stories like John's are made possible through the support of our business partners. To learn more about our partnership program, visit edenprojects.org/corporate-partners.