CHESTERVILLE – A group of local activists are hosting a Gourmet Taco Tuesday fundraiser on Tues., Aug. 15 to help generate funds for a small village in Kenya that has been a beacon of light during the worst drought in Africa in more than 60 years.
The local organization called You Feed Them (YFT), administrated by Chesterville farmers Theresa and Roland Poirier, has been bringing sustainable, cutting-edge agriculture to the remote village of Yogo, Kenya, and has now seen miraculous results.
However, because of the drought in Africa, surrounding communities are coming to Yogo begging for food.
YFT has been successful at establishing a farm in the community to provide food for children attending the local school, Christ Glory Centre, many of whom are the poorest of the poor.
Parents of those children least fortunate work one day a week on the farm in exchange for their children receiving an education and two meals a day.
“We have seen amazing transformations in the Yogo community,” said Roland, who first went to visit the community with his wife Theresa in 2008. “There is now 12 acres of farm that has been growing, despite the drought, due to [irrigation technology] that was brought to the village. The community has now taken ownership and pride in the farm, and that’s what this is all about – providing food security and sustainability. Not just helping the village in a one-time fashion…This project is continually growing, and providing hope for the villagers.”
According to the Poiriers, the community sees education as the way out of poverty, so they are eager to help.
The United Nations even held World Food Day at the farm in Yogo in 2009 because of the incredible results.
The Taco Tuesday fundraiser aims to raise awareness about the work being done in Africa, bringing the same project to other villages, with the hopes of expanding food security beyond the YFT reach.
The funds will also be used to expand the current 12-acre farm, with the goal of reaching closer to 20 acres.
“According to the Poiriers, the students attending Christ Glory Centre have come out on top in academic testing scores throughout Africa – all due to food security.
“We are shaking up the politicians there to take notice of what’s happening in Yogo,” said Roland. “It’s all about creating something sustainable for the community.”
The Gourmet Taco Tuesday event will take place at the Gathering House in Chesterville from 6 to 9 pm, with Mark and Cindy Girard from Girard Foods leading the cooking team.
There will be grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and lamb, as well as purple corn taco shells from Against the Grain Farms in Winchester – all donated from local farmers.
All of the proceeds will go to the Yogo community to provide immediate hunger relief, as well as upgrades to the farms (such as drip line irrigation) to enable them to produce greater yields.
For more information about the YFT projects, or these events (including registration), visit www.youfeedthem.com.