Kusamala Monthly Newsletter
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September is here and we are very busy preparing the land for the rainy season. Our demonstration team has been working in high gear, redesigning garden beds, building swales to catch water when the rains come, mulching, and planting in guilds. 

Second Farmer Field Day

The second farmer field day supporting the work of our Climate Smart Agriculture project took place September 17th in Chibweza Village, Dowa District. Farmers as well as representatives from the district agricultural offices, local and international NGOs, and businesses gathered to tour home gardens and learn about the sustainable gardening practices being employed by our CSA farmers. Joel Nkhwentchera, the community coordinator for Chibweza, has helped farmers in the community establish over 130 home gardens over the last 2 years of the project. Primarily designed and tended to by women, the home gardens showcase simple, low-input techniques such as mulching with crop residues, fertilising using liquid manure, and recycling grey water from household chores, to grow a variety of vegetables. In addition to providing a diversified diet for families, surplus harvest is sold for much needed extra income. Check out photos from the field day here and read more about the event in this article

Seed & Soil Fertility

Next week Chisomo Kamchacha, our CSA project manager, will present at a 2-day workshop lead by the African Centre for Biodiversity. The aim of the workshop is to share recent research findings on issues of seed and soil fertility in Malawi, to hear farmers’ experiences, to share analysis of recent seed policy developments and to engage in a dialogue with government officials, donors and others and to discuss possible ways forward for joint research. Chisomo, along with four of our CSA project farmers from Dowa, will talk about soil fertility techniques being promoted through the project such as: making compost manure, animal manure and liquid fertilizers; mulching; intercropping maize with nitrogen fixers such as cow peas and red speckled sugar beans; making beds on contours; building swales; planting ground covers to reduce erosion; and incorporating agroforestry trees in staple fields.

Training of Trainers

Kusamala is excited to welcome 24 trainers from Project Concern International next week for a 5-day permaculture awareness course for agriculture and nutrition extension workers leading community development projects in Balaka, Zomba and Machinga, in the Southern Region of the country. The course will include agricultural mapping and design to assist the trainers with the community mapping aspect of PCI's 5-year USAID-funded project.

Artisans of the Grasslands

Representatives from Kusamala as well as 30 other Savory Institute Hubs and a diverse group of holistic land management practitioners, will meet in San Francisco October 2-4 for the Savory Institute's annual international conference. This year's theme is "Crafting the Future for Food and Agriculture" and will bring together people from across the globe who are embracing a holistic paradigm shift in ecology, health, and diet. Look for live updates on Kusamala's Twitter feed during the conference and 2-day Hub meeting that follows. 
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