Thursday, October 15, 2015

What it Means to Work With Farmers

By Sara:

Sometimes it is kind of difficult to explain what I do with these agricultural programs that I am always sharing about.  I want you to know that the Ugandan partner organizations we work with (KIDO and KMDP) are doing lots of great field work and doing the bulk of the agricultural training, so I try to emphasize their part in this work.  On the other hand, I don't want you to think that I am just sitting around watching them and doing nothing myself!

When our friend Kathleen came to visit us, she came along with me in all of the work that I did while she was there.  As a result, we now have lots of pictures and videos of me working so you can see what kinds of things I do.   

I've been sharing pictures of some of the results of conservation agriculture in the communities where we work, but today I am going to share about the preparation that other farmers are doing to begin conservation agriculture demonstration plots. 

I am always joining with KIDO and KMDP in the work that they are already doing.  Their gifted field officers put in many challenging hours traveling from community to community, training farmers, and monitoring the progress of their gardens.  When I work with them, one of the activities I help with is in preparing the training materials.  We went to Kaberamaido and worked with the KMDP field officer, Sam, to revise the conservation training manual they were using.

In the field, I help by contributing some of the training points.  Here's a video of me sharing how to make a measuring stick with your hands when you do not have a measuring tape.

And a picture from a conservation agriculture training. 

Also, I participate in the garden work when I can.  In these cases, it was preparation of demonstration gardens.  The farmers here set up nine or more different plots, all next to each other, showing different conservation agriculture options as well as a control plot.  In this case, we did one plot with mulch and several different intercropped plots - maize intercropped with different green manure cover crops like jackbean, lablab, mucuna, and ordinary beans.

We made a picture on the ground to show how we were setting up the different plots.

This was on a different day, working with another farmer to prepare his field:

Here, we're checking out his great field of jackbeans.  He has been growing green manure cover crops since last year and they're doing really well.

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