HHH alum founder of Mama Ada Foundation--Mar 16 event for interested in Kenya projects

From Julie Keller, HHH alum:  "Several years ago I met a Kenyan farmer named Ada Kuto who was visiting family in Minnetonka. After hearing Ada’s invitation to “meet her people”, I traveled to make new friends in Africa. Since then, myself and others formed a nonprofit called The Mama Ada Foundation (www.mamaadafoundation.org); I am now president of this organization that awards tuition scholarships to students and gives seeds to impoverished farmers. Our partnership with the Anglican Diocese in Eldoret has created an infrastructure to enable continued scaling of our programming.

Our organization also has a significant partnership with Syngenta corporation; in fact, we were the grand prize winner of a national contest sponsored by Syngenta’s Good Growth Plan. We created a five-person team of independent ag experts (two Americans and three Kenyans) who spent time in August 2015 with farmers in Kenya (more info at: http://www.mamaadafundation.org/post_07_08_15.html ).

On Wednesday, March 16 from 5pm to 7pm we are hosting an event called Ada's Roundtable at Syngenta in Minnetonka (394 and Hopkin's Crossroad). At this event, we'll tell attendees what the ag team saw and did in Kenya; we'll also brainstorm a three-year agriculture pilot project to be implemented by The Mama Ada Foundation. Following this March event, we'll convene interested people to form a metro area think tank called Ada's Roundtable to provide expertise and connections to carry the pilot project forward (description attached).

Julie Keller (MPP 2000 as Julie Paulsen)

Ada’s Roundtable

Ada’s Roundtable will be a group within The Mama Ada Foundation comprised of volunteer members (10 to 20) that come from agribusiness corporations, universities, other research and educational institutions, international development NGOs, and independent consultants with relevant expertise.

The broad goal of Ada’s Roundtable will be to provide necessary support to the Mama Ada Agriculture Program, especially the three-year Pilot Project, to enable accomplishment of its purpose and objectives as described below. The Roundtable’s support will be given in two primary activity components: 1) Providing agriculture knowledge and expertise for design and implementation of the Pilot Project, and 2) Bringing in new resources for the program (e.g. funding and friends).

It is hoped that a similar group could eventually be developed in Kenya, under the direction of the Mama Ada Advisory Council within the Eldoret Anglican Diocese; at such point, Ada’s Roundtable in the United States would begin to work closely with its Kenyan counterpart.

The group will meet on a regular basis (specific meeting dates and times to be determined by the group) in a location in the Twin Cities’ west metro area; it will be possible to call in to the group, if a member is unable to attend in person. Sub-groups of the Roundtable might meet more often, as needed and determined by the group over time.

Pilot Project Proposal: Getting Smallholders Connected in Western Kenya

Purpose: Help smallholder farmers in Uasin Gishu and Nandi Counties in western Kenya to get connected to the support services and markets they need to sustainably transition from subsistence agriculture to more business- and market-oriented farming so as to increase incomes, ensure food security throughout the year, and significantly improve the livelihoods and well-being of their families.


(1) Build a coordinated network of smallholder farmer groups in the three initial communities selected for the pilot to enable connections to each other (peer learning-mentoring) and to external resources including information, training and markets, using mobile phone and other digital technologies to the extent possible.

(2) Develop a program of demonstration fields, on-farm trials, trainings, field trips etc. to help the farmer groups connect to sources of information and expertise that will help them improve and diversify the productivity, production and profitability of their farm enterprises.

(3) Link farmer groups to market opportunities and help them learn to deliver timely, reliable and consistent supplies of high-quality, higher-priced farm products in response to market demand and requirements."

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