The Why Story - Adda Blooms
I have struggled with allergies for the past ten years. The source of my allergies are unknown, however, it has been attributed to the environment, to food preservatives, to the sun, and to other allergy causing ingredients. The onset of my allergies started when I returned from a family visit to Japan ten years ago. Unfortunately, I did not keep an account of what I ate when I was away. I developed rashes underneath my eyes and within a week of coming back to Canada, the skin underneath my eyes dried and gradually peeled off. This was just the beginning of my ongoing health struggles.
I conducted several allergy tests however my skin did not react to any of the things tested on me. Meanwhile, my body rejected diary, seafood, perfume, and etc. I was examined by a dermatologist who placed a patch on my back for a few days. The results indicated I was allergic to an ingredient in perfume and I should avoid perfumes and cinnamons completely. I did.
I decided to part ways with diary; I stopped eating meat and fish temporarily, but my allergies remained persistent. Through naturopathic research, my father encouraged me to eat purely raw sweet potato day and night, drink boiled red clover leaves, water, and other herbs. Within a month, my allergies reduced dramatically. Occassionally, I would get rashes on my arms and underneath my eyes when triggered.
A few years later, I saw a flyer for youth for the Black Creek Community Farm (BCCF) summer internship program. Immediately, I thought “here is the chance to finally learn how to grow food and heal myself”. At the farm, I learned about agroecology and sustainability under remarkable leadership of Damian Adjodha, that summer changed my life.
My passion for farming grew, and i became interested in the work of farmers and the nature of organic farming in Ghana, my homeland. I decided to conduct a mini research in Northern Ghana on organic agriculture and food systems with a colleague who was also a farmer, Tinashe Kanengoni. During our time in Ghana, I witnessed the impact of agrochemical on farms and the consequences to water bodies, communities, and people’s lives. The hardest moment was learning about the decline of many indigenous foods that fed communities for thousands of years. Ancient trees were cut down, neglected, and/or barely protected. This frightened me, and I wondered about the future of food security, indigenous foods, and sustainable farming for local communities.
Upon my return, I decided to create Adda Blooms, a business that will provide a market for indigenous and natural African foods, alongside working with farmers, collectives, and harvesters to support their livelihoods. My reasoning seemed simple then, if i can find the market for our natural foods, then farmers will grow these foods, earn an income, and financially support their families.
I still ask myself if this is the best start to preserve and protect our traditional foods. Adda Blooms comes with the responsibility of asking hard questions and seeking the right answers on ethical sourcing, extracting natural resources, working with local communities, creating a sustainable supply chain, gender equity, and sustainability.
Last year, I left my fully funded PhD to pursue this vision of working and collaborating with African farmers and farmers collective to create a market for our indigenous and traditional foods across the globe. This journey is entangled with the history of colonialism, imperialism, and the strong force of globalization. This is Adda Blooms mission, to improve nutrition and livelihoods with African indigenous foods.