The annual garden teachers’ residential workshops were held in Mubende in Central Uganda and Tororo in Eastern Uganda in early December during the school holidays.

The workshops are a continuation of DDE’s long running food programme established 2001 which has linked schools in Devon, Cornwall and Uganda to develop sustainable farming practices. The workshops provide a short intensive course delivering teacher training in sustainable organic agriculture with the aim of the teacher’s passing on these skills to their pupils in rural schools.

Both workshops enjoyed an excellent turnout, providing the teachers an opportunity to learn and share experiences.

Both Mubende and Tororo districts, like much of the country are predominantly agricultural economies. However, over the past few years these areas have become increasingly affected and susceptible to climate change. This has exacerbated the risk of drought, unpredictable rainfall, and flooding and crop failure.  The need for sustainable farming methods is therefore important in protecting the local economy and people’s livelihoods.

Mubende workshop on ‘Smart Climate’.

The Mubende workshop was held from the 9th to the 12th of December 2018 at the Homeland Organics and Agrotourism Centre which is run by Julius Tumwebaze. The Workshop was led by the senior Key Farmer Trainers, local experts trained by the Kulika organisation over 12 months, and coordinated by the Mubende Food For Thought Coordinator Kisakye Godfrey.

The course was structured around the three pillars of smart climate agriculture: Improving productivity, building crop resilience, reducing greenhouse gasses. These have the aim of providing food security, income and skill development.

Water and soil conservation were addressed through a range of practical sessions. This included exploring different irrigation methods such as creating contour ditches and intercropping different staples such as beans, maize, banana and coffee to reduce soil erosion.

Following the principles of smart organic agriculture, practical sessions covered the use of crop residues for livestock as well as organic fertilisers. The use of organic pesticides was covered through theory and practicals demonstrating the use of natural pesticides

Tororo Workshop on “Providing limitations through different approaches to climate effects to the environment”.

The Tororo district workshop was held at Nagongera Girls’ Primary School from the 10th to the 13th of December 2018

It was led by Francis O. Magara, an experienced Key farmer Trainer and Annie Beatrice Okumu a KFT and FFT coordinator. The workshop focused on developing leadership skills and enabling personal development through a range of practical and theoretical activities.

Smart organic agricultural principles were adhered to through topics such as garden design and construction which encourage water conservation and organic pesticide usage. Other methods of mitigating climate change were examined through sessions on agro forestry which builds drought resistance and for preservation.

Both workshops received overwhelmingly positive feedback with a strong request to increase the frequency and length of the course to allow more time for training and practicals.

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As part of the Telling our Stories, Finding our Roots (TOSFOR Devon) project, an exhibition exploring and celebrating the multicultural heritage of Tiverton opens at the Museum of Mid Devon Life on Thursday 1st October 2020.

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