Nature's Medicine

Last year, we established our very own herb garden outside of the cafe...easy access to parsley, rosemary, dill, sage, oregano, mint, and thyme. The plants are flourishing now and make for an inviting sensory exploration! IMG_1866

Apart from these herbal culinary staples, we also included a variety of other herbs that have additional medicinal properties to them:

Lavender- has lots of phytonutirents (good-for-you-compunds) and is also good for relaxation, digestion, irritated skin, and even dandruff!

Aloe- has antioxident and antibacterial properties and is great for the treatment of burns, constipation, prevention of wrinkles, and even helps reduce dental plaque!

Lemongrass- is effective at the supporting healthy cholesterol levels, detoxification, fever reduction, treating insomnia, and is a great insect repellant!

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We love making lemongrass tea (and even throw in a few nubs of ginger) for a refreshing and soothing afternoon drink!

Cafe UBUNTU comes to Karen!

Every other Saturday, Cafe UBUNTU is now setting up shop at the Karen Organic Farmers' Market. From 9-3 we offer our new specialty "Masala Joe" Coffee, green smoothies, assorted pastries, granola, and fresh produce from the farm. If you haven't made a trip to Purdy Arms (on Marula Lane off Karen Road) be sure to stop by to see all that this fabulous market has to offer! You can find vendors with assorted cheeses, nut butters, eggs, fruits, veggies, bread, and delicious samosas to munch on while you shop! Come visit us there again in two weeks!

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Sukuma Wiki Chips!

Now, most folks here are probably familiar with the staple green sukuma wiki. Commonly referred to as "kale", sukuma wiki is actually a different plant variety than the brassica to which most of the West calls kale. In Kenya, it is ubiquitous, and most often served with ugali...but today, we decided to serve it up a different way. Sukuma wiki chips two-styles! IMG_4289  IMG_4290  IMG_4293

To start, we took a fresh bunch of "kale" from UBUNTU Farm, washed, destemmed, and ripped it into large pieces before coating it with olive oil. Style one we added soy sauce and sesame seeds; style two we added paprika, chili powder and salt. Bake at 160 degrees Celcius for about 15 minutes (turning them over halfway through)....and voila! Guilt-free chips galore!

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Fresh Pasta is the Best Pasta!

Earlier this month, we had a hankering to try out something new. After looking around to see what we had in stock (and on UBUNTU Farm) the idea became clear....homemade ravioli! We had a bunch of butternut squash that had just been harvested, plus some extra sauteed swiss chard and homemade ricotta- which would make the perfect filling! IMG_4134     IMG_4160

In no time, our team got to work mixing and rolling out the dough (...a little more difficult considering we didn't have a pasta machine and had to do it all by hand!). As with most things at Cafe UBUNTU, when we get down toIMG_4163 cooking up a serious storm, we also get down to stirring up a serious dance party! What better way to cook, than dance while you do it!?

Our filling came out so well that we had a hard time restraining ourselves so as not to eat it all before it made it into the ravioli! But when all was said and stuffed, we boiled them up and drizzled them with some brown butter sage sauce. Deeeelish!

We even cooked up the dough scraps to make a little tomato based dish, that we sprinkled with Brown's Emelok Cheese, which added a really flavorful smokiness!

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Yum!

Chicken Check-In

IMG_4187  IMG_4185 Meet the ladies of UBUNTU Farm! (And a few gentlemen of course).

This April, we brought 50 Kienyeji chickens to our land to raise for eggs, and here they are....only a few weeks away from providing us with a consistent supply of fresh eggs to Cafe UBUNTU!

These chickens will be free range, and will be an integral part of the farm ecosystem here; helping with pest control as well as providing us with great fertilizer for the soil. The fruit and veggie scraps from the Cafe will be included in their nutrient rich diet, so they can produce equally nutritious eggs for our menu!

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Farmer Profile: "J'Man"

IMG_2345 Meet Jeremiah!

Each week or so, he supplies us with 3 dozen local, Kienyeji eggs. He has a small flock of chickens which he rears at his home in Maai Mahiu. He's an avid lemon-ginger tea drinker, and he also happens to be the Director of CTC International.

We love using his eggs, because not only are they locally produced, but they taste great! Their deep yellow yolks are something not commonly found here, partly due to the variety and the way in which the chickens are raised. What they eat is important, as it has been explored that color (and even the nutritive content) of an egg yolk can be correlated to the types of foods that it eats. More carotenoids, which are found in fruits and vegetables, means deeper, darker yellow yolks. So Jeremiah is sure to feed his chickens lots of tasty and nutritious scraps. They eat well, so we can eat well!

Stay tuned next week for an up-close and personal look at our very own chickens....who soon will be laying eggs of their own!

Brown's Training

This month, our fabulous cafe staff members (Tabitha, Bennett and Lillian) were invited to participate in a job shadow and training for 3 days at our partner Brown's Cheese.  IMG_3831     IMG_3821    IMG_3830

During the time shadowing the fabulous folks at Brown's, the UBUNTU team honed their skills in customer service, menu preparation, food safety and communication. Not only did they get to experience a full day of business operations for themselves, they have already begun to implement what they have learned at Cafe UBUNTU. It is our goal to provide not only the best customer experience when you walk through the doors of Cafe UBUNTU, but to provide opportunities for development and empowerment of our staff. Through opportunities like the one at Brown's, we hope to increase our exposure to high level service and dining experiences so that we can set the bar high, if not even higher!

We are so excited about this continued partnership for the Cafe staff, as well as with the new Brown's + UBUNTU cheeses made exclusively with milk from our Livestock Co-op program. Look for the "Herby Goat" and "Chevre" on the shelves at your local Nakumatt, Zucchini and more!

Pillar #2: Healthy Food

Healthy soil, healthy food, healthy community. Last month we focused on the first pillar of Cafe UBUNTU's vision, for in order to have healthy food (pillar #2) we must have healthy soil first. Now we are taking a look at the concept of healthy food and healthy eating.IMG_3032

According to Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director of the World Health Organization, "non-communicable diseases (NCGs)", such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, et al, contribute to 2.7 million deaths worldwide each year....disproportionally affecting low and middle income countries.And as it happens, diet related NCGs are actually one of the leading preventable causes of death.

So what you eat really does matter! And across the globe, a healthy diet is comprised of different things....but a few common elements remain. Balanced nutrients, limited salt and sugar intake, and all the while being affordable and culturally appropriate. To us, a healthy diet means whole grains, moderated animal proteins and lots and lots of fruits and vegetables (from our organic farm!). In fact, we try and sneak them in wherever we can.....have you tried our Green Smoothie?! It has over 3 servings of fruits and vegetables in it! Add some fresh ginger and you've got an extra punch of natural anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories. Plus, its great for digestion!IMG_3046

We like to feel good about what we eat, not only because the way it comes to our plates is better for the environment, but because it is actually healthier and more nutritious for us! Stay tuned next week to take a look at how produce for our farm is actually better for you than produce imported to the market....

UBUNTU Fireplace #2

IMG_3431 We are gearing up for our next UBUNTU Fireplace event to take place on Saturday, May 9th. This time in Nairobi! We are so excited to have the lady of hip-hop and reggae herself....NAZIZI!!!....who will be hosting the event alongside other fabulous local musical and spoken word talent. The event kicks off again at 6pm at Kuona Trust Art Center, an art space which offers workshop space for artists and a residency program as well.

This month, the proceeds from the event will be going to support our Malaika Kids program, and we are having a special pre-event for kids and families including art workshops, games, face painting and free ice cream cones from Brown's Cheese!

Nyama Choma will be in abundance, plus drinks, music and even a few celebrity guest appearances.....so a little birdie told us....We can't wait for you to join us!

In the mean time, check out this little clip from our video promo shoot we hosted with some of the artists at Cafe...

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Creatives hard at work at Café Ubuntu in Mai Mahiu...rehearsing for "Ubuntu Fireplace"...Ayrosh Collo, Poetic Bee, Nazizi, Noni and Moseh come together for the first time to work on Redemption song...i wonder what happens after 3 or 4 meetings like this? Find out on the 9th of May.

Posted by Ciro Gi on Saturday, April 25, 2015

Happy Earth Day!

We thought this was an appropriate month to focus on soil and organic agriculture, as one of our guiding principles at Cafe UBUNTU and UBUNTU Farm is "earth care". So in honor of Earth Day, we will continue the discussion about how we do our best to ensure that we exercise healthy stewardship of our land, so that we can be healthy stewards of our bodies through the food that we eat.

So why organic?

Here are a few reasons why we practice organic agriculture on our land, to produce the the food we use in Cafe.

1. Increased nutrient density. Healthier soil means healthier food! 2. No contamination from pesticides! 3. No synthetic hormones, antibiotics, or GMOs! 4. Restores ecological balance into the local environment.

Take a look at this short video to get a better idea of why organic farming is, well....just better!

Permaculture 101

Earth care, people care, faire share. Here at Cafe UBUNTU and UBUNTU Farm, we believe and practice many of the principles of Permaculture and organic agriculture. It was our great privilege to receive a Permaculture Design Certification from Food, Water, Shelter in Arusha last year, and since then, we have been implementing a number of new and exciting techniques on the land.

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Being a dry area, we've built a number of "swales" or mounds and ditches that are used to help maximize water distribution when it rains. These swales help to slow the flow of rainwater and sink it into the ground, as opposed to letting it simply run off, taking lots of nutrient rich top-soil with it. We have strategically places these swales all over the land, particularly near our areas of production so that we can utilize nature itself to provide us with bountiful produce for the cafe!

Another Permaculture installation is our fruit orchard, where we have planted oranges, avocados, mangoes, tree tomatoes and papaya (thanks to our fabulous Whole Foods volunteer team!). By diversifying the types of trees, we are helping to decrease the chances of pests; for one bug's treasure is another bugs trash....ok, don't think that's how the saying goes. But ultimately, confusion is key! And we get yummy fruit out of it all!

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One of the simplest, and most effective means of managing the land and crops is through biodiversity. This means planting more than one type of crop and also consists of "companion planting". Certain types of plants, when grown together, compliment each other well. For instance, marigolds and tomatoes. These flowers help to repel insects that might otherwise feed on the tomatoes, and instead help us to grow tasty, undisturbed tomatoes to eat!

The theory is relatively simple....and for us, the results are amazing!

Healthy Soil

Healthy soil, Healthy food, Healthy community.... DSC00719 (restored)

These are the 3 tenets that we hold true at Cafe UBUNTU. Health extends beyond diet and exercise (and we firmly believe in both!), and should be a holistic approach to the self and the world around us. If we are cultivating a healthy planet through responsible stewardship of the environment, we are on the path to cultivating a healthy self.

One of the ways we engage in this practice of environmental stewardship on UBUNTU Farm, is through our dedicated composting systems. We sort all of our biodegradable waste (food scraps, fruit and veggie peelings, paper, ash) from cafe and compost it on the farm using a method of layering...also called the 'lasagna method". Each pile is built to a specific dimension and is created in the following way: the bottom layer consists of brown material (dry grass, wood, charcoal, ash, leaves), then a layer of green material (Cafe biodegradable waste!), a layer of manure (from our goats!), then repeat! Each pile is watered regularly and monitored for the appropriate temperature. Once it reaches its peak and begins to cool, it is turned over so that the biodegrading can continue. After about a month, the pile is decomposed and ready for use on the fields for added nutrition.

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The other method of composting we use is called "vermicomposting"....basically composting using worms. Red Wigglers to be specific. We have 4 worm tanks on the farm that are fed veggie scraps and organic waste daily. The worms break down the materials, leaving behind two very important products......worm casings/compost and WORM TEA! The liquid we drain off from these tanks is highly nutritive and applied as an organic fertilizer to the plants on the farm.

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With waste from the Cafe, we are able to increase the productivity of the farm, giving us more bountiful and higher quality products!

Fireplace Success!!!

Phew. And there we have it….our very first Café UBUNTU Fireplace launch! And we can say with utmost satisfaction, that it was a raving success!!!

This past Saturday, we were joined by close to 150 guests from as far as Kisumu who came together for an evening of spoken word, poetry, music, dancing, and of course nyama choma! In addition to the already all-star line up (including lyrical sensation JULIANI), we had a couple of surprise guests including NAZIZI and H_ART the Band. Music and dancing lasted through the night and culminated by watching the sunrise around the last of the burning embers of the fire.

The café has been abustle with activity for the past week in preparation for this event. Menu items included mashed sweet potatoes with sage (a new spin on Kenyan Mokimo which traditionally uses mashed peas and potatoes), tomato-cucumber-fresh corn salad, and roasted goat. Plus our blender was going all day to make our specialty cocktail…Watermelon Mojitos!

The vision behind UBUNTU Fireplace truly came alive that night as music, food and community united around the most natural of forces. A huge thank you to our partners in crime, Tree House Media, Juliani, as well as all of the talented artists who came to share their gifts. And of course a huge thanks to all who attended! See you at the next one!

COUNTDOWN TO UBUNTU FIREPLACE!

After weeks of brainstorming and planning, we are finally gearing up for our very first Cafe UBUNTU Fireplace event to take place on Saturday, March 21st! We are so excited we can't contain ourselves...WHY? Because the one and only JULIANI will be our evening's host and MC. Legit. We are teaming up with Tree House Media, a Nairobi-based film production and talent management company to bring “UBUNTU Fireplace”, an artistic showcase of local Kenyan talent, which draws upon the historical centerpiece of fire-based storytelling, music and dance that contributes to growing community through local art, local food, and social enterprise. Each month we will select a different program of CTC to receive the proceeds of the event, and this month's program is LIFE Line. #loveisproject meets #UBUNTUfireplce meets #juliani!

So come join us for a fantastic night of spoken word, music, nyama choma, and beautiful scenery as we launch this monthly event! Tickets available now on ticketsasa.com!

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

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Cafe's First Wedding!

This past weekend, Cafe UBUNTU welcomed over 80 guests for a wedding reception on our grounds! Preparations started bright and early, complete with balloons, decorations, and lots and lots of chapati making! IMG_3721 - Copy     IMG_3732 - Copy

Guests danced, ate, and celebrated to union of two dear friends of Cafe UBUNTU...some even stayed on past the festivities to chill out on our couches and enjoy a few cold drinks.

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With plenty of parking, beautiful scenery and of course, yummy food, Cafe UBUNTU is the perfect place to host your events and celebrations. We were so excited to be a part of the process and can't wait for the next one!

Roasted Vegetables!!!

Fresh from UBUNTU farm: butternut squash, carrots and potatoes! First, preheat the oven to 150 degrees C. Peel the skin off all of the ingredients and chop into small pieces, toss with oil and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. 20150127_202309

It goes well with Sautéed Kale or any other vegetable of your choice. Make a point of visiting Cafe Ubuntu and test out our version!

From Vine To Product.

Exclusive farm to table tomatoes harvested from Ubuntu Organic Farm. IMG_20150128_110833     IMG_20150128_111134

In a separate pan sautee garlic,olive oil then add tomatoes,parsley,salt,black pepper and basil,simmer for 10 minutes

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Blend the mixture to desired thickness.

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This is Cafe Ubuntu's natural tomato paste, designed from the farm to table concept, that is used for making delicious pizza.

A Three Day Exclusive Training

Being the beginning of the year, we were lucky to host a group of 150 on Leadership training with Emerging Leaders Organization. Emerging Leaders teaches participants on powerful mindsets and skill sets for positive achievement gains. IMG_2638

The training was not all about youth but all ages were involved to change their lives and mindset.

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In leadership, someones character will always depends on his or her way of thinking.

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http://www.emerging-leaders.net/

Guess Who Is Back?

After 6 months, Amara is now back to Kenya #ctc#cafeubuntu#. She was the one who established the Farm To Table Concept at Cafe UBUNTU. For her first lunch back with Jeremiah our Kenyan Director, who had just returned from his run, they took Brown Chapatis with Sauteed Spinach from UBUNTU Farm.

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We can't wait learn more on the Ideas she has this time round.

Welcome Back Amara!