With its annual “African Dinner at the Ranch” on June 3, the Wild Farmlands Foundation was able to raise about $16,000 to further its work with the Barnabas Project, which builds village farms and teaches farmers to feed and empower the poor of Uganda and other African countries.
Proceeds from this annual event will go to support Barnabas Mwesiga and the Migisha Farm in the rural Mbarara District of Uganda, said foundation spokesman Ed Seaman. Barnabas is a rural farmer who uses his small farm to teach local people how to raise food and cash crops and get them to market. His effort is giving people hope and building local economies, Seaman added.
The event took place at Restoration Oaks Ranch just south of Buellton and included a tour of the farm, a Ugandan-inspired meal prepared by Chef Brett Stephen of High on the Hog Catering, music by the group Masanga Marimba, and a presentation featuring the conditions, accomplishments and needs of Barnabas Mwesiga and the 90-acre Migisha Farm.
Migisha means “blessings.” The farm has a producing half-acre banana grove and two tilapia-stocked fish ponds along with 200 mature eucalyptus trees used for construction. Chicken and pig-raising projects are in various stages of development. There are some cattle on the land. Crops grown include garlic, onions and Irish potatoes.
With the funds Wild Farmlands was able to raise in 2017, Mwesiga was able to obtain a seedling loan, train workers, construct a reservoir, fence the fish ponds, and complete other necessary repairs and projects around the farm.
In 2018, Mwesiga plans on furthering their work on the farm and in the community by focusing on garlic as a cash crop, the tilapia ponds, and raising and then selling or trading cows, pigs, goats and chicken.
The Wild Farmlands Foundation has set out on a mission to educate and inform everyone, especially youth, about the value of small, independently owned farms and ranches to food systems and their importance to a healthy earth.
For more information on Wild Farmlands Foundation or the Barnabas Project, log onto www.wildfarmlands.org.