Class of 2021
Growing up in Mukono District in central Uganda, Edward Mukiibi experienced first-hand the negative associations often attached to farming. From the poverty his family faced to local schools using agricultural activities as punishment for bad conduct, he realised that the farming industry held considerable untapped potential – and that what he needed to change were people’s attitudes towards the profession.
Through his food education project, Developing Innovations in School Cultivation (DISC), Edward is reaching out to students and communities with the aim of cultivating a positive attitude in young people towards agriculture and locally produced food. By creating income-generating gardens within schools and incorporating an experiential method of teaching agriculture, he is recasting the farming profession as a dignified and profitable career option and offering a solution to youth unemployment in Uganda and Africa.
As executive director of Slow Food Uganda and vice president of Slow Food International, Edward has been instrumental in the development of Slow Food Gardens, a project that has already created thousands of green spaces to preserve African food biodiversity and help communities access nutritious food. Working with the organisation Food Wise, he is helping young people reconnect with local and traditional food and cuisines in a bid to protect African food cultures, gastronomy and biodiversity. Next on Edward’s pipeline is the plan to transform his farm into a 360-degree ecological food social enterprise.
“When we reconnect young people to reduce rural migration, we build a community that understands the real value of growing our own food and using the land we have.” – Edward Mukiibi
Images: Felipe Abreu