Welcome to a Journey of healing for the BODYandSOIL in Africa.
Since 2020, after publishing my book "Eating with Africa," I've been busy weaving together ideas to leverage my practical knowledge from Africa and newfound expertise as a holistic nutritionist to tackle the crises in food, farming, and nutrition on the continent. Today, at the beginning of 2024, I've come to believe that the solution lies in reconnecting indigenous knowledge with an ecological approach that nourishes both the SOIL and the BODY. These two components have become so disconnected from each other, and we need to reconnect them. Healthy soil, born from diversity, leads to healthy crops, which leads to a healthy body, and healthy societies.
Here in Karamoja, Uganda, where my next journey begins, over 60% of the population lives in dire poverty. People here, as well as in other parts of Africa, grapple with challenges like population growth, globalization, imports, and climate change. This leads to farmers cutting down local food and medicinal trees to survive on a few dollars a day by selling charcoal and firewood. Subsistence farmers increasingly focus on planting one main staple, which is detrimental to soil organisms, crops, and their own health. With each passing day, the knowledge of their ancestors disappears, and the consequences include drought and malnutrition. Quick fixes such as funding one unbalanced school meal a day or distributing nutritional mixtures in communities are part of daily reality in Africa, but they are not lasting solutions.
Many tell me this cycle is unbreakable, but I refuse to accept that. Together with like-minded individuals who believe in change, I’m about to build something amazing—a place for education in nutrition to heal the BODY and the SOIL in Africa. My goal is clear—a center tailored for the African continent, built on indigenous wisdom combined with the latest nutritional knowledge. Not just a quick fix, but a comprehensive solution involving research, engagement with elders, collaborative changes, and a focus on education in food and farming. AND to produce healthy, local food products from small-scale farmers to nurture and strengthen livelihoods. Leveraging Africa's abundant land and the power of small-scale farmers can lay the groundwork for this transformative inclusive model towards positive change.
My crucial first step with Body and Soil involves collaboration with Shanita, a boarding home for 250 children. Together we will cultivate a food garden planted for nutrition and diversity, not just to fill hungry stomachs but to NURTURE, HEAL, and EDUCATE children, parents, and teachers in the future in food and farming. The ultimate goal over the next years is to transform Shanita's garden into a sustainable source for the boarding home, with over 60 cultures planted for rotation in the diet and the soil, to integrate livestock, and to expand its impact, as well as become an exemplary model for other schools and small-scale farmers in the region to replicate. With BODYandSOIL, I envision a ripple effect of introducing a healthy lifestyle through education in healing through food and farming that extends beyond the current generation, influencing and inspiring future generations.
Life revolves around food. If people can be empowered with knowledge in healing through nutrition of their body and their soil, we can change so much!
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