Download the Nairobi City briefing

Nairobi’s food problem |

Global food supply chains are highly energy intensive, and mostly reliant on fossil fuels. Greenhouse gas emissions from the agri-food sector are over 20% of the world’s total. Rapid urbanisation is stretching Kenya’s food and agriculture systems to their limits, and Nairobi in particular is struggling to provide sustainable food and nutrition security for its residents.

With a population set to reach 14 million by 2050, there will be many more mouths to feed. But the journey from farm to fork is currently not as smooth or green as it could be. From food production and distribution to refrigeration and preparation, designers can play a significant role in making sure future Nairobians are fed in a way that is good for both the human body and the planet.

How can we make the journey from farm to fork greener and fairer in Nairobi?


To save energy across the food supply chain food waste should be prevented. Food waste can be addressed with more efficient refrigeration, transport networks and connections between producers and consumers.

While urban farms are not an unusual sight in Nairobi, further innovations in city farming would foster the urban market and boost local food yields. In turn, this could save energy expended on food transportation and distribution while encouraging local supply and demand for healthy and sustainable food across income levels.

“Charcoal has recently been banned as a cooking fuel, but not everyone can afford LPG. There needs to be an alternative, fast. The problem is not the lack of cookstoves, but the lack of fuels.”


Many food choices and preparation habits, such as charcoal jikos (cook-stoves), are unhealthy for both the human body and the environment. Helping to change entrenched habits and values around food choices and preparation, could help people adopt types of food and practices that are better for the body, planet and the pocket (or M-Pesa account!).

Find out more and download the city briefing below for background information, suggestions on where design can make a difference, impact areas and inspiring examples.

Download the Nairobi City briefing