In order to sustain the School Meals program, we realized we needed to reduce our overall cost of food. Our holistic solution was to create Desire Farm, which sits on 10 acres of farmland. It was developed in 2009 to produce grain, vegetables, meat, and milk for the children.
It took a total of 700 days of labor to get the farm up and running: 200 days for stumping and clearing, 400 days for tilling, and 100 days for planting. Grandmothers and day laborers care for the farm, which is managed by farm manager Richard Munyakazi. They are paid 2,500 Ugandan Shillings per day ($1.30), which is considered a good wage. Desire Farm is also one of the most critical elements of the Vocational Training Program. It will be an income producing enterprise and a center for the graduates of Nyaka and Kutamba who do not attend secondary school.
Our hope is that Desire Farm continues to grow as a hot bed of innovation and agricultural learning. For a fee, local farmers come to the farm to learn seeding, transplanting, grafting, fertilizing, and weeding techniques.
They also gain access to valuable information about how to farm with improved hybrid seeds, ordinarily a risky initiative for uneducated farmers.
Desire Farm still faces significant challenges due to weather and the remote location of the plot.