When Visions Evolve: The Rebrand

Two years ago, The Farmhouse Project was launched out of learned experience and local voices expressing need on the ground within a village just outside of Kampala, Uganda. The need of small business opportunity, the hunger for education, and access to means which could provide life’s most basic essentials for adults and children was their rally cry. 

It all began with one family - a woman named Rose who our founder Ashley had known for years, she had raised up over thirty orphaned children and often spoke of her dream of becoming a chicken farmer. She longed for freedom from the confinement and corruption within the local government, her work ethic was higher than average, and her biggest dream in life was to have her own home someday. One she could tend to, feed her family in, and possibly even use for harvesting crops.

Over time, this dream became an urgent need, as she faced challenges of some of her children being separated and put on the street. Which is when Ashley, used her resources and put together a fundraiser in Los Angeles that consisted of an informative short film, photo gallery, live music, and a Ugandan speaker - all in hopes to raise the funds for Rose’s farm house (thus The Farmhouse Project was born.) That night, we miraculously raised enough money to purchase a home structure with two acres of land for Rose and her family.

We celebrated, we danced, and yes, we cried.

Once the land was purchased and officially in Rose’s name, we moved forward with partnering with her as our first farmer and invested the capitol to launch her first chicken coop, which was also a huge learning experience.  We stretched our budget everywhere we could to make the best use of the little we had, and started small to test the waters. Within 6 months, Rose was actively selling eggs to the local community as a small business, which provided a very helpful extra income for her and her family.

Within the first year of the project, it was profoundly obvious the amount of progress made in Rose’s life and we knew this had to continue to grow throughout the local community. As the vision has evolved, we've continued to dream of a village that will rise and thrive together while preserving small business family farming to cultivate growth on all levels such as income, health, and wellness.

In the beginning of our second year we had naturally established and expanded our relationships within the local community, and felt confident to bring on a group of new farmers, although this time moving towards mushroom harvesting and cash crops.

With the launch of our new farmer partnership, we established a village farmer’s association which provides innovative training programs on crop plantation focusing on the basics of everyday superfoods which will be grown and marketed to the growing expat community in Kampala. And the impact of these superfoods doesn’t stop there. The introduction of these new crops isn’t just for selling to outside communities - we will be on the ground teaching our farmers how to utilize these crops in their own diets and encourage balanced nutrition programs and alternative medicinal options through these foods that can be so easily grown in Uganda, while making significant impact on their families health.

Naturally, we have grown with our partners, and our visions have evolved. We are no longer just a farm house project, we are a community and a culture who believes in carving our own path and creating a sustainable future for our families including all things business and wellness. We believe in empowering one another near and far, and we believe all humans should have the chance to soar.

We have so many visions and goals we hope to bring to life for a greater global community to create a society of growth, and we hope you join us on this wild ride of a bigger vision, Cultivation Society.

Cultivation Society is simply, community supporting community through art, wellness, and farming.

The Why

This morning I woke to a text from one of my best friends Umar, who is on his way to being an incredible doctor in Uganda.  The message read "hey, she just died....in my arms."  I could feel the pain in his heart as well as in mine when I read it, and I took a deep breath as I heard the birds sing in the background and wished her sweet little spirit blessings.

This "she" I am talking about was a two week old fragile little baby girl named Edith who was born into this world without a fair chance.  Her mother died right after she gave birth, who was HIV positive, and then her father abandoned her soon after her mother passed.  Coming from a neutral standpoint, one can understand that he may have fled his current life circumstance due to so many complex details and emotions.  A couple of days after her birth, Edith was tested positive for HIV.

Edith was loved by the arms that held, supported, and struggled to buy her formula during her short time on earth and her little body fought all she could.  But what comes to my mind is why. Why, after all of this time are we still living on opposite ends of the social spectrum from a global standpoint when so much of this could be prevented if we all do a little something outside of ourselves. HIV statistics could decrease overtime with access to higher education, as many mother's wouldn't die from child birth with access to proper medical tools within hospitals in developing countries, and if every child had the chance to go to school this world would look a whole hell of a lot different.

But I do think we are getting there, very slowly. There are hundreds of incredible projects and companies out there who are creating hugely impactful and sustainable partnerships with impoverished nations and that is how we are going to get there.

Waking up to this message this morning reminded me of my "why" in creating and building The Farmhouse Project, because Edith deserved a fair chance. As humans we all must come together and consciously remind one another that so many of these circumstances are preventable, if we all put in a little effort.  Starting a non-profit hasn't been easy, that's for sure.  The day to day paperwork, waiting for what seems like forever for the official status of a 501c3 from the IRS so we can move forward with bigger things, building a board of members, and so much more. But it's been more than worth it and I continue to learn more everyday not only about what a long term sustainable project and partnership with farmers and families looks like, but also so much about myself. It constantly challenges my mind and forces me to think about humanity and the rawness of it all. 

Don't we all deserve a fair fight in this world? A chance to learn. A chance to grow. A chance to make a difference. A chance to have clean water. A chance at medical treatment. A chance at so much more. A chance to feel merely human and allow our spirits to soar on this journey.

"My first world is humanity. My second world is humanism. And I live in the third world being merely a human." -Santosh Kalwar