Bwindi AMAGARA project

I am a VSO volunteer who has recently started working in Bwindi (Uganda) for a community vegetable growing project and thought that it might be of interest to your newsletter readers who are visiting the area. Below is an overview of the project.

WHAT IS BWINDI AMAGARA?

In 2006 Bwindi Advanced Market Gardeners’ Association was established (AMAGARA meaning ‘life’ in the local language Rukiga). AMAGARA aims to help local farmers to produce and market foods for the tourism industry while training them in farming techniques that minimise damage to the environment and forest and maximise the nutritional value of meals they provide for their families.

Bwindi AMAGARA aims to achieve this goal by acting as a bridge between farmers and the tourism industry by marketing AMAGARA products to local tour lodges while training members in target crop production and natural resource management and helping them to increase the yield of their produce. AMAGARA has seen cooperative members receive a much needed boost to their household income as well as increased family nutrition. This link between increased household income and tourism has also given the farmers a powerful incentive to conserve forest resources.

TOUR OF THE DEMONSTRATION VEGETABLE GARDEN Join one of our friendly and knowledgeable team members on a tour of the stunning demonstration garden and find out more about where the food you are eating comes from. Learn how the association operates and hear about the range of different growing techniques that are taught to local farmers. Take time to meet the local people who work at the garden and join them in planting seeds or working the site. See our bee hives and find out how honey is collected within the Bwindi area. Get your taste buds tingling by sampling some of our fresh delicious produce including honey, strawberries and our fearsome chillies! Finally, make sure you pop in to say hello to our friendly pigs which we are breeding to provide piglets for households within the community.

TRADITIONAL COOKING LESSONS Join us daily for traditional Ugandan cooking lessons in a beautiful and fun environment. AMAGARA offers visitors the opportunity to learn how to cook authentic Ugandan food on traditional charcoal stoves while enjoying spectacular views over the vegetable garden. Learn from our professionally trained chef, Moses, who will share with you his knowledge of traditional dishes, including some interesting twists to recognisable western favourites! AMAGARA is capable of catering to individuals or large groups. We appreciate bookings in advance (especially larger groups) but we are usually able to cater for visitors without advance warning.If you are interested please ask your lodge to contact us or email: bwindi.amagara@gmail.com.We look forward to welcoming you for a most memorable cooking experience.

AMAGARA GARDEN SHOP

The AMAGARA shop has a wide selection of delicious gifts to suit all tastes at small prices, including beautifully packaged honey and tea from Bwindi; A unique gift from the home of the Mountain Gorilla for those friends and relatives who have everything. Every purchase supports the work of AMAGARA and the local community

REFRESHMENTS

Relax and enjoy a drink or snack in our shady terrace with spectacular mountain views. Our specialities include tasty dishes using fresh vegetables and Bwindi-grown tea infused with either mint or honey and ginger. How to find us? Bwindi AMAGARA demonstration garden is located approximately 4km from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest gate. The garden can be reached by vehicle or by taking a scenic walk along the main road, following the river out of the forest and past Bohuma trading centre. Why not stop off at Bwindi Community Hospital on the way. You can hear how AMAGARA and the hospital have been working together to improve nutrition for people within the area.

Please also visit: the following sites – chris_sandbrook and Bwindi_AMAGARA_first_year%20report.pdf

Stephen Legg

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