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Sustain-ably producing food from waste with less resources.

Our vision is to ensure that our community accesses healthy and Nutritious diets under a clean and safe environment sustain-ably.

Photo of SAMSON KISSEKA
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

HELLO MUSHROOMS U LTD

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Farmer Co-op or Farmer Business Organization

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

The Hello Mushrooms model of working with Farmers is in such a way that we bulk our outputs and collectively market it to the community to benefit from economies of scale. We support other farmers (suppliers) by gathering waste from their farms and prohibit them from burning it to polute the environment. We work in hand with other organizations with similar objectives towards promoting sustainable food production and environment protection like spark-agro initiative, smart farmers forum association, friends of nature, art planet academy, vertical microgardening initiative and others. We also cooperate with government and non-government bodies in supporting households with Urban farming skills to boost household food security and revenues. We have partnerships with experts and organisations in food processing and value addition like Super chillo, sozo Mushrooms LTD who help us come up with better and affordable products for our community.

Website of Legally Registered Entity

https://www.hellomushrooms.org

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Kampala

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Uganda

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Central Uganda which is the most urbanized region in the central part of Uganda (East African country) covers a total Area of 61,403km2

What country is your selected Place located in?

Uganda

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Growing up from the suburbs of the City and coming from a farming family, we lost land due to urbanization and faced difficulties in supporting our livelihoods, something which even left me out of school. I couldn't continue since we could not raise enough money for my studies not until later after i discovered the lucrative Mushroom growing which enabled me to push myself up through school and start a new life again. But then later realized that i wasn't alone in this same situation since urbanization is on the rise in our community as many families lose land and  young people are forced to migrate to urban areas to search for a better life but later get stranded. These make up the majority and are resource deprived and unemployed. I began this move two years ago together with other farmers to engage urban communities, focusing on women and youth into productive urban farming activities that can utilize waste around us and requires minimal resources like on a small plot of land to produce food sustain-ably for the community. Many families have lost arable land with women and children mostly affected and prone to food insecurity and malnutrition. On the other hand there's a lot of waste produced in urban communities both from households (plastic bags, food waste) and at local farms (farm wastes). We innovated about using this waste by engaging the local population into it's own food production to fight against food insecurity and keep the environment clean. We make highly nutritious food products out of our farming activities which sell well in the community and improve on the general health of the local population.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Central Uganda happens to be the central region of Uganda and covers over 26 districts. It was known to be Inhabited by one of the biggest tribes in Uganda known as the Buganda tribe early in the days. Uganda as a country has more than 50 tribes living in different regions of the country. In early days, most modernization influenced by the colonialists took place in this central region and there also lies the capital of the country. Modernization is one of the major reason why people from different tribes and other regions were attracted to come in and mix with the in-habitats of the central region and up to now, it's found of mixed people and cultures from different tribes but majorly dominated by the Baganda tribe which influences everything from culture to language and other practices. Baganda people are generally known to be well behaved, hospitable and socially cooperative something which can be explained by their love for their king and neighbors who also happens to be living within the central region. Currently, Central Uganda is much more developed compared to other regions of the country and this has influenced rapid urbanization to take place something which had impacted natives negatively and many had lost land and economic activity making them prone to poverty and unemployment. Back in the days, the central region used to be the food basket for the entire country but now since is transforming into a commercial area, it's characterized with high rates of unemployment, insecurity, rural urban migration and food insecurity among poor households. And also because of this transformation, people's food and dietary habits are changing from the culturally embraced foods such as plantain, root crops, cereals and legumes to fast and convenient foods which are unhealthy and less sustainable for the urban population and yet there's a great flourishing climate and other resources that can support urban farms. The people of Central Uganda desire to enjoy better diets and a clean environment to improve on their living standards to live much longer. 

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

61403

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

9529227

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Generally Agriculture is the back-borne of Uganda and employees over 70% of our local population. This means that it's contribution towards the national GDP is huge as well. However, our food systems (which are believed to be still in infancy) are facing a great deal of challenges and which could grow into big threats in 30 years to come if not dealt with in the most appropriate ways. Since food chain operates in sort of a system, means that different factors interrelate and come into play reinforcing each other to cause the visible challenges that our food systems are facing. They rage from political, socio to economical aspects as described here bellow; In our food systems, we are dependent on mother nature and this influences our seasonality in all our working aspects. We experience outbursts of produce during the bumper harvests and scarcities in other seasons and due to our low level of technology, we can not add value or prolong the shelf-life of the harvests. Therefore surpluses end up being wasted as garbage during the bumper harvesting periods. Meanwhile, in the non-harvesting seasons we face scarcities of produce which also influences our community's dietary habits like finding cheaper and more convenient alternatives such as fast foods. Once this shift comes in, already there's a trend created and the whole food system begins to move in that direction. Also because of being dependent on nature, we are found suffering from uncertainties such as weather extremities and disease out-breaks, this coupled with low technology and less alternatives to cover up and feed our community, poor policies that promote food importation and relief comes into play and yet these are not sustainable since they never address the root cause rather than temporary and sometimes adding on the burden. Urbanization, poor land and resource management systems are a big challenge and future threat to our food systems. For-instance many immigrants had runaway from neighboring districts to Kampala after losing their arable land either as a result of land wrangles or urbanization. Also our land tenure system is the worst with the owner of the land being different from those that are using it i think because of poverty and you find that the owners dictate what should be done on his and not the farmer, so you find that developing that land into a commercial farm is a great challenge.Also our cultures were our the men control resources and land and you find that the women who play a big role in the household have little say in the food chain. Most of the key players in our food system are at subsistence level of operation, something that is limiting us and risking the future food system. When it comes to policy making, we farmers are not included in the kind of centralized system taking play currently and this put us far from making decisions that will impact us and the entire food system.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Our vision is to optimize food production by recycling waste and using available resources as a regenerative way to sustain our local food system and we are to achieve this by engaging all relevant key stakeholders into Urban farming projects and activities that are directed towards our vision.

By learning how to use the available and minimal resources in the best ways possible, we are avoid the problem of seasonality of production and harvest. Foods such as mushrooms and vegetables can be produced well throughout the year regardless of the season, and this avails the right quantities and qualities the market demands and there no seasons for waste. What would have been wasted could be planned for well prior to harvested and used in the most appropriate way or added with prolonged value.

Engaging stakeholders in our urbanized communities into their own food production and at their convenience will spur a great deal of creativity and innovation and the entire food system will be impacted in various means like easing data and information flow, competitiveness, quality production along the food chain and a shift from our subsistence nature of production to commercial means.

Urban farming mechanisms will cause a shift in the technological level through fostering innovation that could utilize available resources such as waste into food.

Availing food at convenient times and at all times will reverse the trend of our community adopting fast foods and convenient diets.

Since our system will involve all key stakeholders acting at different level towards the vision, chances are that the policy making will be improved and farmer's inclusion in decision making attained and a shift from centralization to decentralization of decision making will be attained.

Our practices will involve the recycling of both organic and in-organic waste material such as plastics and food or farm waste to produce food and therefore clean the environment.


High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

After addressing the challenges that our community is facing, there will be great progress and success in the following times on wards,

At-least everyone in our community will be able to access and afford a better and nutritious diet and as a result, the general health will improve. When the community is healthy, it becomes productive and poverty levels decline, as a result government will earn enough taxes and this will develop our country.

Less pressure will be put on resources like land after people had appreciated the contribution of the food system to the development of the community and unemployed youth will be inspired to take on agribusiness to generate incomes and also create employment for their fellows, something so impactful in our community. 

With proper recycling of waste out from the environment, people will enjoy a clean and safe environment to live more healthier.

Since losses from food wastage will be curbed, food could become cheaper and affordable for everyone in our community. There would be plenty of value-added products available for the community to enjoy and this will also boost foreign exchange.

Farmers would live a happy life after benefiting from their efforts.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Our overall idea is to form a system that will emphasize food production utilizing waste and less resources focusing on urban communities. Most of the urban households had got resources which are not put to use or sometimes are being wasted and this include things like labor(un employed youth), free space in the backyard, food and plastic wastes, networks of friends and family (market) and many other things. You find that this same household is suffering from poverty and starving or is not growing economically and a threat to the entire community. But if this household is engaged into productive and commercial urban farming projects such as mushroom and vegetable and supported with marketing and utilizing it's resources, it will pay off highly, create employment for the youth, generate household incomes from these activities, improve diets and food accessibility and affordability to the community, protect the environment from waste pollution and generally improve on our people's social welfare. We tried this with our mushroom growing project and made some achievements on it. For example, in mushroom growing projects, we basically work with lots of organic wastes either from the farm or households and we recycled them to produce mushrooms which employ many young people in our community but at the same time nourishes the community with a balanced diet.

We will have to work with all stakeholders with the community including leaders and select local teams that are to front our activities within each community. In every community we will be having an active site that will serve as our demonstration and focus centres for our community engagements.

We will partner with other service providers like Agronomists, NGOs, GOV"t agencies and others to make our vision a reality.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

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Very artist! and Bio diverse.. all the best

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