Kemi Jeje is the team lead for Whole Eats and Community Pot, two projects she started to help adults and children who are sick or not getting enough food. In this interview with YETUNDE OLADEINDE, she talks about her childhood and how it led her to become a food formulator and help kids who aren’t getting enough food.
What is the initiative all about?
Community Pot is a business that sells healthy foods. We think that medicine should be in food so that people don’t eat medicine like it’s food. We’ve been making meals for more than two years, and we’ve done very well on the market.
What inspired the idea?
It was a mistake that I went on a journey and then had children. But the idea that food can be medicine led me on my path.
Describe your journey
I was very sick as a child. I would just start to sweat for no reason. I also grew up in a white garment church, where they thought I was ogbanje and kept beating me because of it. But that didn’t change anything, and they said things like I was going to go back on the day of my wedding. I got sick once a month, and when I was sick, nobody cared about me.
I couldn’t hang out with my friends because I had to sit down after just a few steps. When I went to high school, it was the first time I went to a public school. When I got home from the first day, it was time to go back to school. My heart started racing. Then I looked across the street and saw a woman selling garlic. I don’t know where the idea came from, but I went to her, bought some garlic, and ate it. It stopped right away, as if by magic.
That was where my journey began. Then I thought that as a baby, I couldn’t always smell like garlic, so I did some research and found out that they sold garlic that didn’t smell. I started taking herbal supplements after that. At one point, I had painful periods, and they did ago and all that for me. As it grew, I took responsibility for that journey. Even while I was married, I had to deal with a lot of health problems, and I got tired of going to the hospital. At one point, some treatments were making my life harder, so I started to look for things and had to get a diploma in herbal medicine.
What did you study before this?