The Opener:

The Black Soldier Fly

Black Soldier Flies (BSF), scientifically known as Hermetia illucens are common flies found naturally in most countries of the world, Kenya being one of them. BSF is the opener to a successful regenerative poultry farming enterprise i.e., Zero waste to value, less footprint (less resource use), nourishing people and planet, & supports nutrient cycling/regeneration

Waste to Value

Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) is such an alternative. Recognized to be one of the efficient insects for converting macronutrients of waste into viable protein (FAO 2017) and not just protein, the residue that is left behind after the BSFL have fed on a biowaste substrate. A product that has be found to perform better than commercial organic and inorganic fertilizers (ICIPE 2020). With a life cycle of about five to six weeks from egg-larvae-pupae-adult, these insects have gained popularity in the recent years due to the ability of the BSF larvae to convert waste to value in a very short period of time i.e., between 10 to 14 days.

Less resource use (Land & Water)

BSF unlike conventional animal feed protein sources such as soy and fishmeal require less resources (Land & Water). It is estimated that one square meter of soy can produce up to 0.5kgs of feed per year while a BSF farm can produce up to 750kgs of feed using the same amount of land. Significant cubic meters of water are required to produces a 1kg of fish feed compared to what is needed to produce an equivalent BSFL meal.

Annually, Kenya imports over 100,000 metric tons of soybean meal and about 150 metric tons of soy protein concentrates, and textured soy protein from China (Global Trade Atlas), soy has also been imported from Tanzania and Zambia. This is due to the extensive resources needed to grow soya and the huge demand in the market for feed and food.

BSF stands out as a sustainable alternative compared to the conventional animal protein source.

Nourishing people and Planet

High value and sustainable plant and animal nutrients at an inexpensive cost. The insects grow on bio waste, a readily available resource in many parts of the world. Making the cost of production way low. The end product of the bio conversion supply high value protein and much needed micronutrients needed for quality growth in livestock production and increase plant production.

Figure 2: Black soldier fly larvae (animal protein)

Intern high quality and quantity of food is produced to sustainable feed a hungry and fast-growing population worldwide.

Figure 3: Nutritious chicken meat from BSFL based feed

Figure 4: Ololo Pasture raised eggs supplemented with BSFL based feeds


Regenerative food system = Good for people, planet & economy

The main objectives of a regenerative food system are to supply nutritious food for people, maintain a cleaner environment, reduce human-animal competition for food and enhance human-animal-plant integration, reduces waste and promote nutrient cycling, uses less resources (land and water) but increase production and last but most important save on unnecessary costs. BSF meets these objectives and more by contributing to net zero economy

Case Study at Ololo Farm

Figure 6: Ololo Farm Chicken on Pasture

Ololo Farm is proud of its regenerative farming system, farming in a way that benefits the people, planet and the economy. Unlike conventional systems whose main design is based on a linear model i.e., take-make-waste. Ololo farm’s system is designed to contribute to a more circular and net zero economy i.e., take less-make better-handle smarter. Rather than rely heavily on expensive and toxic pesticides and chemicals fertilizers to grow our plants and animals we focus on cycling nutrients on farm. Maintaining vegetation cover by growing pasture and trees, practicing rotational grazing and cropping, and composting rather than disposing our waste.

Figure 7: BSFL in the pupae stage

Introducing insects into our integrated livestock system not only adds value by contribute to our circular system but it saves us up to 40% of our production costs and increases our production significantly. Waste from our kitchens and farm is upcycled to make animal protein (BSFL) and organic manure for plants (Frass). After months of using BSFL included feeds, we have seen a significant improvement in our poultry production i.e., better growth rates, feed conversion efficiency and egg production.

Figure 8: Ololo Farm BSF Unit

Our onsite medium scale unit has enabled us to sufficiently convert our kitchen scraps (handling waste smatter) into high value Ag inputs (making better), and supported our ongoing farm trials on ultimate potential of BSF in a small-scale poultry enterprise, archiving all this with less space and water requirement (taking less).

Changemaker: Kevin Makere

Country of Implementation: Kenya

The Food Waste Index Report 2021 by UNEP and Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) indicates that every Kenyan throws away an average of 99 kilograms of food every year, with the country wasting a total of 5.2 tonnes of food every 12 months. Most of this food waste is dumped in the many landfills in and around Nairobi.

This poses a major threat to the country's food security and is contributing greatly to the current global climate change crisis. Kevin with support from his friend George both young devoted farmers living and farming in Nairobi, Kenya are on a mission to make their community more food secure by making their food system more circular, utilizing food waste as a resource to make more food.

Upcycling food waste that would have otherwise ended up in landfills into high-value agricultural inputs i.e., Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae for livestock feed and organic manure (Frass) for growing trees and crops with the help of black soldier flies. And now they seek to empower other farmers to do the same through training and action. Targeting a total of 100 young farmers and youth in their community directly, Kevin seeks to share his knowledge and experience in BSF farming and a circular food production system.

Updated: Apr 20

Ololo Farm was started with one goal in mind. To grow the most nutrient dense food possible whilst improving the ecology of the land on which we farm. This, to us, is Regenerative agriculture. A form of farming which works with natural systems to restore the ecologic health of our landscape. Our farm was established in 2018 and has been supplying our busy Safari Lodge and now customers in Nairobi. Our primary products are pasture raised chicken (meat and eggs), duck meat, run a small dairy herd, organic mushrooms and soon to come is honey. We also operate a large shamba where we aim to grow as much organic vegetables for the 'Kitchen at Ololo'. We've been sold a lie To date we have been sold a lie. The only way to feed the 9 billion by 2050 is to produce our food conventionally. In other words we must tolerate caged animal agriculture and soil destructive, pesticide heavy grain growing methods.

Conventional agriculture has ensured that humans and the planet remain sick. The list of human health issues is exhaustive but the two standout issues are human fertility which is in precipitous decline and the fact that cancer is the biggest and fastest growing speciality within medicine. A similarly exhaustive list of the damage to the planet from agriculture starts with rainforest destruction, topsoil loss, carbon and methane emissions etc, etc. If we continue down this path, there will be no topsoil left to grow our food. Rivers, estuaries and the ocean will be so polluted that there will be no life left in them. Adding to this depressive state is that poor agricultural practices such as excessive tillage, synthetic fertiliser application, chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and rodenticides are all killing the nutrient availability and uptake of the plants.

The second part of the lie is that the world already produces enough food to feed between 11 and 14 billion people. But most of that food is lost all along the chain to end consumer and a lot of it is grown for the wrong use like feeding grain to cattle or using corn for ethanol production.

“Regenerative Agriculture” describes farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle.

The solution is Regenerative Agriculture

The key to regenerative agriculture is that it not only “does no harm” to the land but actually improves it, using technologies that regenerate and revitalize the soil and the environment. These practices build healthy soil, capable of producing high quality, nutrient dense food while improving, rather than degrading land, and ultimately leading to productive farms and healthy communities and economies. It is dynamic and holistic, incorporating permaculture and organic farming practices, including conservation tillage, cover crops, crop rotation, composting, mobile animal shelters and pasture cropping, to increase food production, farmers’ income and especially, topsoil.

Kioko getting the pump going to shift the water from our duck ponds (which is filled with effluent) back onto our pastures. Pasture raised poultry Here at Ololo farm we live and breath these principles. By using a rotational grazing system of our animals we are able to rebuild our soil health. Our main focus and product is pasture raised poultry. Both laying hens for eggs and broilers for meat. How do we farm chicken regeneratively and why on pasture? Put simply. We raised our chickens in a small amount of space for a small amount of time, followed by long periods of rest. This is the basis of rotational grazing. Our chickens are housed in mobile 'Chicken tractors' which are moved daily. The benefit behind this is that the manure from 700 chickens is left behind. This is ALOT of nitrogen which is great for the soil and increasing the growth of pasture. Another benefit of this system is that the birds do not have to spend their lives living in their own faeces. Additionally, up to 8% of the chickens (broilers) diet will come from natural grazing of grass, insects and bugs. This has a significant beneficial impact on the quality and nutrient density of the meat. As pasture raised chicken has 50% more vitamin A-E, 50% more creatine, 3 x more OMEGA 3's, 4 x more adenosine triphosphate etc etc. Another reason to eat Ololo pasture raised chicken over conventional chicken is that ours have no antibiotics or steroids and are raised outdoors with access to fresh grass and air. Crazy huh?

One of our 'Chicken tractors' which houses approx 700 birds and is 12m x 6m in size. We have a simple method of putting the structure onto wheels and pushing it onto fresh pasture each morning.

This is just the first of many blogs to follow. If there is anything in particular you would like to know more about Ololo Farm or Regenerative Agriculture then please write to me at You are also welcome to come out to the farm and see what we are doing. To book a lunch and farm tour please call reservations on 0708 844 818