Monsanto and The Seed – Sowing an Uncertain Future in Uganda

mon3

I didn’t march against Monsanto last weekend. It would’ve been me marching against the dust of the dry season here in southwestern Uganda. Small village farmers would’ve looked up from working in their gardens, weeding sorghum, hand-watering vegetables, and handing their child a sweet potato. They would’ve wondered. Who’s Monsanto? I …

Continue reading

I Dreamed of [Death By Mangoes] in Cuba

cuba2

Two summers ago, on the map maker’s spec of a Caribbean island called Cuba, I dreamt of bicycles, turkeys, death by mangoes and murals (and not necessarily in that order) – amongst other magical symbols and sensations. I close my eyes and move through memory… …coasting backwards…pedaling my bicycle along the skinny …

Continue reading

Negotiating Nature’s Edge – Swamp & Safari Land vs. Small-Scale Farming

Guide at community-run Bigodi Swamp.

I was standing at the end of a wetland sanctuary, and the beginning of a farmer’s field of sweet potato and maize. I was at the edge of ecosystem. In the “interface between two mediums”…stepping through the space that permaculturalists describe as “interesting and beautiful” and even “more productive” (Mollison, …

Continue reading

On the Radio in Uganda – Talkin’ Bout Culture & Nutritional Revolution

At Hope Radio in Kabale, Uganda.

I had to swallow back a strong cup of coffee in order to stay up for the show. The radio program dubbed “Dr. KIHEFO” was slotted from 10 pm to midnight, so Carol and I left the house at 9:30 pm and moved through the pitch-black Monday night in the …

Continue reading

My Edible Research – All the Rabbit Rage These Days

Alphonse holding up a 5 lb. rabbit.

Around midday I was walking along the dusty red side-road in Kabale town-centre, Uganda, back to my office, my eyes turned down and shaded from the hot sun, when I heard my name being called. I looked over my shoulder to see my friend, Tony, skidding to a halt on …

Continue reading

More Postcards from Uganda – Mushrooms, Omusiri & Movers and Shakers

Mushrooms in Kabale, Uganda.

Mushrooms Postcard Dear _________. There are many reasons why mushrooms makes sense in Kabale. One, protein deficiency (leading to malnutrition) is sky-high here, especially amongst children under five. Eggs, chicken, beef, goat – are culinary pipedreams for the poor. Mushrooms are packed with protein and serve as a less costly …

Continue reading

Postcards from Uganda – African Kitchen, Hunger & Rabbits

Women's digging group in Kabale, Uganda.

Today is a public holiday in Uganda. It’s International Women’s Day and the government actually gives people the day off work – another reason (aside from the weather) that I’m glad to be in Uganda, and not Canada. Even though I know the hardest working women on the face of …

Continue reading

One Fish, Two Fish – Pond Potential for Food Security in Uganda

Aquaculture project

As a young boy, Lazarus Ruzindana’s remembered his father hand-digging a small pond near their home in the sloping valley village of Nyakiju, Muyumbu – located in the Kabale District of Uganda. He had packed the pond with stones and clay and during the rainy season, it became a humble …

Continue reading

The Breadbasket Paradox in Southwestern Uganda

Over 80% of Ugandans are involved in agriculture.

My first couple of weeks in Uganda have provided ample food for thought. I’m living in the town-centre (and district) of Kabale, which is located in the southwestern part of the country that borders with Rwanda to the south. It’s a long way from the capital city – nearly nine …

Continue reading

A,B,C,D,E is for Ecological Education in Guatemala

School children at Tuixoquel, Comitancillo.

Promoting ‘education’ is just one of the many banners that government and development organizations love to wave as solutions to complex issues that cause poverty and disease. Build a school, fund curriculum development, pay teacher’s salaries. And so forth. Unfortunately, applying the broad stroke of ‘education’ can also cause more …

Continue reading

Shoots & Sprouts (A Revolution in My Salad Bowl)

Radish shoots contain 18% Vitamin C

My relationship with salad will never be the same. That’s my favourite one-liner for the early morning market goers at the Edmonton Strathcona Farmer’s Market every Saturday. Popping up from behind the Sunrise Gardens stall, I unabashedly share my ‘born-again-sprouts’ story with a steady stream of people whose eyes are …

Continue reading

Ode to Cuba – Day of the International Peasant Farmer

Myself and Fernando Funes, Cuban agroecologist.

Es un sueño estar aquí – it’s a dream to be here,” I told my new friends who had come to pick me up at the airport in Varadero, the skin around my eyes dark and sunken, yet my eyes bright, alert, ready to drink in everything Cuba. It wasn’t …

Continue reading

Painting the Roses Red – Global Flower Industry

roses

“Oh, we’re painting the roses red and many a tear we shed because we know they’ll cease to grow, in fact – they’ll soon be dead! And yet we go ahead, painting the roses red!” *Disclaimer: This is a belated Valentine’s Day and premature Mother’s Day rant at the Hallmarks …

Continue reading

A Curious Look At Dumpster-Diving in Edmonton

trash transformed into tools for change

The parking lot was locked in snow and virtually empty save for a few vehicles ensnared in frost, probably belonging to the store employees closing up shop for the evening. The façade of the organic grocery store was pleasing as always: painted in fresh cut grass green and deep golden …

Continue reading

Searching for the Shaggy-Maned Ones

Shaggy-maned mushrooms in the Peace Country, AB.

A couple of weeks back, I went out on a mission for coprinus comatus – those colony-sprouting shrooms that go by the street name of shaggy-maned-ones. After a mad bout of rain had hit the hills of the Peace, I got a hot tip from my fellow mushroom-loving-friend, Ms Jess, …

Continue reading