Who would ever think you could learn so much over a six-day period on a farm in Fiji? That’s exactly what we did, when we were kindly hosted by Austin and Kim Bowden-Kerby on their Teitei Livelihoods Farm near Sigatoka, Fiji.
Our group consisted of volunteers and friends of KYEEMA who wanted to experience why village chickens are so important to rural livelihoods. They also hoped to learn more about permaculture, coral reef gardening and what it means to live mostly from your own garden. We achieved virtually all of these objectives!
On day 1 we were treated to an overview of the farm and why Austin felt the need to breed local chickens. Fiji has vast coral reefs, which sadly have been degraded severely due to overfishing, population pressure, silt from rivers and most recently coral bleaching events. In order to restore reefs and therefore fish breeding grounds, Austin has worked tirelessly with communities around Fiji on coral reef restoration activities.
However, he soon realised that an alternate source of protein and income was required, if communities were required to set up “no fish” zones in order to give their reefs time to recover. Hence his “Happy Chickens” project! He has now distributed over 32,000 improved breed local chickens around Fiji.