The Farm Africa blog

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th March 2014
This is the first in a series of quarterly blogs from Farm Africa, a charity with important links to the hospitality industry trying to end hunger in eastern Africa. Farm Africa 7   “Give a man a fish”, so the saying goes, “and you feed him for a day”. But “show him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”. No one quite knows who came up with this clever proverb, but it’s a lesson that has been taken to heart by Farm Africa. And just like in the proverb, we have an approach to tackling hunger that doesn’t involve handing out food. Instead, we are working to head off hunger before it becomes an emergency. We’re doing this by improving agriculture on the ground, providing farmers in eastern Africa with the skills, tools and technologies they need so they can get on with growing more food for their families and communities. This can take the form of training in more effective farming techniques - like planting crops in earthen structures that are better able to capture the little rain that falls. Or it could be improved seeds for crops like sorghum that are better able to withstand the effects of drought. Or new varieties of Farm Africa 2the food staple cassava that are resistant to plant disease. Changing lives for good It’s an approach that is changing lives. That’s because the skills and learning we are bringing to farmers in eastern Africa last a lifetime. And of course, with better farming come larger harvests – and surpluses. So we’re also showing farmers how to process their surplus crops. It could be drying and packaging mushrooms, or juicing mangoes. What’s important is that it all adds value, turning food crops into cash crops which farmers can sell at market for additional income.Farm Africa 1 Growing support from the UK’s restaurant sector It’s an approach that works. And we are thrilled that some of the leading figures in the UK’s restaurant scene agree. They are supporting ‘Food for Good’, a fundraising campaign set up by the UK’s food and hospitality sectors to fund our work to end hunger – for good. Further recognition for our work has come in the prestigious form of being made the official charity for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants for the past two years. And later this month the award-winning chef Jason Atherton of London’s Pollen Street Social restaurant will serve up a sumptuous three course dinner for lucky guests at a Food for Good Ball to be staged at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Farm Africa 6It all began in 2012 when the Michelin-starred UK chef Ashley Palmer-Watts travelled with Farm Africa to Western Kenya. He spent a week there, finding out how we are transforming the lives of rural farmers by helping them to build and stock fish ponds. Chefs Kilimanjaro Challenge Ashley returned to the UK inspired by what he’d seen, and determined to do whatever he could to support Farm Africa. So inspired, in fact, that he decided to set up a crack team of chefs to raise further funds for Farm Africa by climbing Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. The Executive Head Chef at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal got his phone out and in no time at all had assembled a team to take on ‘Kili’: Paul Foster, then Head Chef at Tuddenham Mill in Suffolk; John Freeman, Head Chef at Nottingham’s Michelin-starred Sat Bains; and Paolo de Tarso, Head Maître D’ at Knightsbridge’s Bar Boulud. Following a gruelling ascent of the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, the team arrived in triumph at the summit of Kilimanjaro in early September. It was an extraordinary effort, backed up by huge fundraising from each team member. The money they raised in sponsorship, together with funds raised by other Food for Good activities in 2013, amounts to a whopping £500,000 brought in by Food for Good in just 12 months since Ashley first announced his Kilimanjaro climb. Find out more about the Chefs’ Kilimanjaro Challenge in this videoFarm Africa 5 It has been humbling to see the incredible support for our work that has flooded in from the food and hospitality sectors. But much more needs to be done. We would love to hear from you and discuss how you, your restaurant and colleagues can get involved in Food for Good. You certainly don’t have to climb Kilimanjaro. Whatever your fundraising idea – big or small - we can give you support and everything you need to help make it happen. So please get in touch to find out more.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th March 2014

The Farm Africa blog