School of farming
Together we have raised over £145,000 and counting
We are passionate about farming and where food comes from, so when we had a chance to start our own School of Farming we jumped at it. The school is based in Kabbubu, a village in heart of poor rural Uganda, and it helps locals grow themselves out of poverty by teaching farming skills and supporting them through their first few growing seasons. Graduates of the school are able to turn a modest plot into a sustainable resource that can feed a family of four and earn extra cash on top to pay for school fees, health care and family essentials. The difference this makes to people’s lives is huge.
the principles of the school of farming
The School of Farming is run by the inspirational Mr. Augustine, a passionate believer in the power of education, who has dedicated himself to teaching farming skills and turning around the fortunes of those in his community. Working together, we created the following principles:
1. develop the best farming techniques for the area
Mr. Augustine tirelessly tests new crops, varieties and methods to find those most suited to the ground in Kabbubu. So far his students have achieved ten times the yield compared to traditional farming methods and each season sees the yield increasing even more.
2. teach these techniques to as many local people as possible
Mr Augustine runs a new course each growing season (there are 3 a year in Uganda) and he is in the process of training other teachers and working with the local schools to increase the reach of the School of Farming even further.
3. support our students through their first few growing seasons
Mr Augustine and his team of trainers assist all of our graduates through their first few seasons to ensure all the lessons are put into practise and the full benefit of the course is reaped.
4. ensure our students get the maximum from their harvest
Ensure that our students and graduates get the most from their harvests by giving ongoing advice on the best storage methods for the crops and when they should take produce to market. We’re also working on setting up a farmers cooperative to help the individual farmers to get more bargaining power and better prices still.
5. bring pride to farming
Sounds a bit simple but one of the challenges we’ve faced is that people don’t want to farm in Kabbubu. Farming is seen as a low status activity for women and poor or failed crops used to be the norm. "Go and grow some cabbages" was a well-known local insult. However, we’ve already seen a change in attitudes purely from the success of our students. Classes are now 50:50 male to female and have a long waiting list of farmers who want to join.
vegetables at the grocery
watering the onions
theory lesson with mr Augustine
We have over 400 graduates
That's 400 families who can now feed and support themselves. On top of that Mr. Augustine has: trained 34 trainers to support all the students as they start their own gardens, experimented with 27 varieties of maize, planted a total of 1,200 orange trees, held 4 harvest festivals, started a farmers co-operative, installed giant water tanks to help the villagers to water their crops regardless of rainfall, started regular agriculture lessons in the local schools and cleared the land for the Centre of Farming Excellence.
Solomun and his family are one of the school's biggest success stories. In the modest plot around their house they are growing 24 varieties of fruit and veg (including sprouts, sweet potatoes, spinach and the staple food in the village - maize). They also have a goat, given to them by the school, which provides all the family with milk.
For Solomun's family this means that they are now able to pay for him to go to school (he is top of the class); they eat a diet that Jess, our nutritionist, would be proud of; and are able to live a comfortable life where previously they had to rely on hand outs.
Solomun's story is just one of many success stories in and around Kabbubu.
And this is just the beginning...