From September 19 – 22, 2016, A Growing Culture together with Kikandwa Environmental Association and Prolinnova hosted the Library for Food Sovereignty International Stakeholder Gathering. We convened more than 45 stakeholders (comprised entirely of farmers and farmer-centric organizations) from seven countries in the remote central Ugandan farming village of Kasejjere. We came together in this small, rural village to discuss how we can best create a resource that supports our agrarian communities and represents our values of always putting farmer realities first. The meeting took place on a hillside surrounded by communities actively experimenting and taking charge of their own future.
A fully participatory process was designed with input from participants. While an AGC facilitator guided the process, three other facilitators from among the attendees helped advance several important sections of the Agenda. The group discussed and clarified the key practices, approaches, and challenges to documenting, sharing, and accessing farmer knowledge. Additionally, CauseLabs (consulting technology partner to AGC) used role playing to further refine the granularity of the information pathways involved in making this resource locally accessible, culturally relevant, and community led, ultimately stimulating and safeguarding local knowledge. The final step involved careful consideration of how each participant could conceivably play a role in piloting the first prototype of the LFS in East Africa.
On the final afternoon of the gathering, a small innovation fair was organized to give innovators the opportunity to exhibit and discuss their work. Some exhibitors included Ms. Wairigia Mahindi and her traditional processed honey and cactus products, Ms. Margret Nabatanzi and her innovative uses of amaranth, Mr. Dan Kiprop Kibet and his raw milk fermentation technique, Mr. Martin Oracha Omuga and his sickle cell anemia treatment, Mr. Ouko Joram Odongo Elisha and his dairy goat meal made from various local fodder, and Mr. Simon Mutuku Masila and his finger millet nurseries technique.
The gathering was monumental because it provided AGC with diverse perspectives, feedback from around the world, and other vital information used to create a blueprint for LFS development. This blueprint has recently been converted into a clickable prototype.