To preserve local food cultures and promote sustainable agriculture while understanding the importance of community leadership in addressing the associated challenges, Slow Food Uganda conducted a practical Agroecology Training of Trainers (TOT) in Kigezi Region on May 8, 2024, intending to equip the Slow Food community leaders with the necessary knowledge and skills to educate their communities on sustainable farming practices.

This training was conducted at Let’s Change My Village (LCM), a partner organization located in Rwabatungu Village, Noozi Parish, Rukiga District, bringing together 46 (27M, 19F) participants, including local council leaders, school head teachers, teachers, Slow Food community leaders, consortium partners, Slow Food community members, and Slow Food coordinators from the three project-benefiting districts of Rubanda, Rukiga, and Kabale districts.

The Training was very crucial in multiplying the impact of agroecology, and by equipping leaders with practical agroecology knowledge, it ensured passing on skills to many other Slow Food Community members in the Kigezi region, thereby creating a ripple effect and spreading sustainable farming practices more widely and effectively.

Another important aspect of the ToT training program was to create knowledge dissemination through the leaders to empower them to become educators and advocates for agroecology within their respective communities. This approach is designed to foster local expertise and promote sustainable agricultural practices that are tailored to the specific needs and conditions of the people in the Kigezi region.

Among the trainers were staff members from LCM, who played a crucial role in helping participants understand the different principles of agroecology. They provided practical demonstrations and real-world applications of these principles, showing how they can be used to support sustainable food production. The involvement of LCM staff ensured that the training was grounded in local context and relevance, enhancing the learning experience for all participants.

Nevertheless, participants also had the opportunity to tour various agroecological facilities at the LCM farm. These included the community seed bank, urban gardening setups, seed and nursery beds, organic pest management systems, and soil fertility management practices. This tour allowed participants to see the principles of agroecology in action and understand how these methods can be practically applied to enhance sustainable food production.

The one-day training covered agroecology topics on seed saving, water, soil, and pest management without excluding the farm tour. The participants could then identify areas of concern they would help address in their communities. Each participant returned home with local fruit tree varieties and maize seeds for planting, saving, and sharing.

Participants noted that the skills and knowledge gained would not only improve their farming practices but also help them support their neighbors in adopting more sustainable and productive methods. Such trainings are expected to contribute to increased food sovereignty, improved food security, environmental conservation, and community resilience in the region.