A Ugandan Agricultural Experience – part 1

UGANDA

Students from Gayaza High School in Uganda starting their banana garden.

Last year a representative from Uganda’s Catholic relief Services (CRS) office traveled to the United States to observe an agricultural education program and FFA chapter in action. The experience led him to bring the same entrepreneurial and leadership spirit to a local agriculture school in Uganda.

This month, National FFA Local Program Success Specialists Ben Meyer and Nina Crutchfield along with Madison Taylor, a former Minnesota State Officer and future agricultural educator, are in  Uganda as part of CRS’ Farmer to Farmer exchange program. The team will work with school educators at Gayaza High School and members of the school’s Young Farmers Club to share ways to infuse entrepreneurship and leadership into their curriculum and club activities.

Different culture, similar values

Just north of Kampala, the capitol of Uganda, Gayaza High School’s values are respect, time management, perseverance, integrity, excellence, and tenacity. Teachers and students manage a school farm, utilizing the environment for applied learning in core subjects and agricultural practices in vegetable, dairy, poultry and banana production.  They just finished hosting a Farm Camp where students and teachers from other schools learn about food security and sustainable production techniques.

True farm to fork

LPS specialist Ben Meyer hopes to gain insight into global agriculture and micro-level agricultural practices that exemplify a true field to fork process.  Meyer spent seven years as a secondary agriculture teacher in Montana and North Dakota before serving four years as a state supervisor of agricultural education in Idaho.  He is excited about the opportunity to share his knowledge of American style, integrated ag education and FFA with the enthusiastic student body at GHS.

It’s more than a professional interest

This trip appeals to LPS Specialist Nina Crutchfield professionally and personally since it speaks to her passion for agriculture, education, and social justice. She looks forward to exploring ways for GHS students to become the cornerstones of their communities and the agriculture industry. Crutchfield discovered her path upon walking through the door of her high school ag program as a freshman. She has experienced agricultural education as a student, teacher, and now with National FFA Organization.

International view adds agricultural knowledge

Madison Taylor, a student at the University of Minnesota and FFA member for 6 years, is looking forward to an international experience working with students, teachers and community members with an emphasis around agriculture.  Madison is studying Agricultural Communication and Marketing and Agricultural Education with a minor in International Agriculture.  Her interest in ag education was sparked by her family’s farm and through experiences as an FFA member.  She is excited to meet and work with the wonderful students at GHS and help them further develop their premier leadership skills and prepare for career success in agriculture.

We will have more in the coming days from our team’s trip to Uganda. We know they will have some interesting stories to tell!

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More about Farmer-to-Farmer

The Farmer-to-Farmer Program promotes sustainable economic growth, food security, and agricultural development worldwide. Volunteer technical assistance from US farmers, agribusinesses, cooperatives, and universities helps developing countries to improve productivity, access new markets, and conserve environmental and natural resources. This people-to-people exchange promotes international goodwill, understanding of US foreign assistance programs, and private involvement in development activities. Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers work with farmers, producer groups, rural businesses, and service providers to develop local capacity necessary to increase food production and rural incomes, expand economic growth, and address environmental and natural resource management challenges. Learn more at http://farmertofarmer.crs.org/ On Twitter follow @farmertofarmer and #CRSF2F.

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Author: Larry Downes

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