NUTRIgreens is a social enterprise that is aiming to tackle malnutrition in Uganda using microgreens; which are vegetables harvested after 1-2 weeks. Microgreens contain up to 40 times the nutrient concentration of their mature counterparts, and approximately 150 times less water to be produced. Due to their small size, they can be grown in volume with little burden on the producer, making them suitable for indoor growing.
Our mission is to tackle malnutrition in school children who are at their core developmental stage in life. We believe that every child should have the opportunity to lead a healthy lifestyle and succeed. Uganda is ranked 129th/187 on the HDI index, and many children suffer from symptoms of a malnourished diet. Young children in Uganda have a cereal based, non-varied diet, which rarely includes fresh vegetables. Both Vitamin A and Iodine deficiency exceed the WHO cut-off, putting them in the class of a severe public health issue. Low age-for-height is a more obvious symptom, whilst 50% of children 6 months to 5 years old, are anaemic (Iron and Vitamin D deficiency). UNICEF have linked these symptoms from micronutrient deficiencies to weakened immune systems, stunting, and learning difficulties. In addition to poor academic performance resulting from energy and concentration issues that limit school children’s academic development.
Our project will empower farmers and students alike to improve their health, and create a sustainable livelihood for themselves. We hope to achieve this by selling microgreens commercially to restaurants in both Nottingham and Kampala, enabling us to subsidise the production for schools. Our aim is to introduce microgreens into the African market to combat the issues of a predominantly cereal-based diet that has a low nutritional value.
The project is currently in its developmental stage and has two business endeavours. An international venture that is located in Kampala, Uganda, as well as a local venture that operates in England. There are two main focuses; firstly, to provide schoolchildren with a healthier diet through leafy greens which will be carried out through the cultivation of microgreens in greenhouses and nutritional/agricultural education classes. This will allow for the students to recognise the importance of sustainable farming and dietary needs. Thus far, our project has impacted 300-400 school children in Uganda and the establishment of greenhouses at schools and an external greenhouse are currently underway.
The Sustainable Development Goals that Nutrigreens tackle are zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, decent work and economic growth, reduced inequality, industry, innovation and infrastructure, responsible production and consumption and partnership to achieve the goals. We are tackling malnutrition in Kampala through the growing of microgreens and the implementation of vertical farming in partnership with schools and restaurants to create employment. In combination with a curriculum to teach school children about the importance of nutrition and the responsible production and consumption to help reduce the inequality between the nutrition of the rich and poor.
To find out more about NUTRIgreens, please visit their website here.