This week on The Farm Report, Erin Fairbanks is in studio with Edie Mukiibi, Vice President of Slow Food International, and Richard McCarthy, Executive Director of Slow Food USA.Edie Mukiibi was born and raised in the rural parts of Mukono District in Central Uganda. He attended a nearby rural school for his primary and secondary education. Agriculture was used as a form of punishment in both schools: experiencing firsthand the practice of shaping a young person’s attitude towards agriculture. Mukiibi graduated from Makerere University with honors in Agricultural Land Use Management in 2009, where he has also worked as a teaching assistant in the Soil Science Department. In 2006, Mukiibi founded Developing Innovations in School and Community Gardens (DISC), a project aimed at promoting community engagement and agricultural sustainability among the youth. Mukiibi’s involvement with Slow Food began in 2008. It was stimulated by a drought in Uganda whose destabilizing impacts were made far worse by the widespread mono-crop planting of a maize hybrid. By contrast, he argues, traditional agricultural practices provide stability: “If one takes a classic African farm, one finds there are fruit trees, vegetables…it’s thanks to this model that, over the years, Uganda has never known famine.” In 2014, at the age of 28, he was named Vice President of Slow Food International. With this recent appointment, Mukiibi helps to steer the work of the global network and to grow Slow Food’s 10,000 Gardens in Africa project. Edie goes on to share with Erin misconceptions about Africa and how he strives to change these for the better.
Richard McCarthy also joins the show and embodies the phrase “think globally; act locally.” He joined Slow Food USA as Executive Director in January 2013, having previously served as Executive Director of Market Umbrella, an internationally recognized non-profit mentor organization for farmers markets, community building and sustainable economic development. After Hurricane Katrina, Richard played a key role in restarting the local agricultural economy in the New Orleans area, aiming to help provide returning residents with a sense of normalcy and resilience through the revival of farmers markets.
Stay tuned to the end of the show to hear the EscapeMaker segment featuring Chris Harp from Honey Bee Lives!