How terrific to hear from so many people on the FoodStory Project, and I have gotten personal notes too from Ken, Tom, and Wendi about their interest in this work. And Andrius, I so much appreciate your lovely recent letter on working together, and will respond to that individually.
Andrius has generously offered to help fund some of you: please see his mail below, and immense thanks to you, Andrius!! On Fred, Andrius, I would suggest a money transfer via WU or Moneygram, as time is short for the conference, and Fred will need time to prep for the conference.
We're delighted to hear that you can go, Fred, and could you possibly get printed or xeroxed a one-page handout on MS and related forums? Since I gather O/net has been able to fund Ugandan participants, perhaps some of the funds Andrius is sending to you for the conference can be used for the printing?
Fred, what are you studying in school, and are you in a position to gather food stories in Uganda?
"Ken Owino and Fred Kayiwa, I also look forward to you working for pay on MyFoodStory. Ken and Fred, may I send you personal check?Fred, I plan to send you 200 USD for you to go to the Omidyar meeting for us, to sign up people for our groups, and also to collect 100 food stories for us. Ken, would you be able to collect 100 food stories for us for 100 USD? These are short descriptions of farmers or others who work with food, why they are interesting and how we can contact them."
Benoit, you are always so loving and supportive! Greatest gratitude for your sweet words, and for your caring and kindness to us all! I'm sure Fred will feel better just breathing in your inspiring air! I'm delighted that you and Helen might work on the FoodStory project too, and Helen is--as always--an invaluable friend and partner here! Helen, I'd love to focus on stories by/about women, and hope you might too. Markus is also very interested in this as well, so hope we can all work together!
Wendi and the members of Actwid Kongadzem are eager to work on the FoodStory project, Andrius, and $200 will enable them to buy a computer and get started. They have checked them out locally, and can get a P2 for $200. They say a "flashcard" for $25 will help with data storage, and transferring more data, and more quickly, at the cybercafe they now use. One goal we have (they and I) will be Internet access, and a web presence for their org and endeavors.
Artemisia will hopefully be a focus for them: it is not exactly a "food", but it can be brewed into a tea, and is ingested. This might be a good link to Markus, who is studying tea. Markus, I might be able to collect some tea stories from Kenya and elsewhere (in March)!
Wendi, Andrius writes:
"Also, we're very interested that Wendi and her colleagues in Cameroon work for us so that they could have a computer. We can provide the computer in advance and you can do the work afterwards. Please let us know, is it better to send a computer or for you to buy one? I imagine that it may be better for you to buy one. How much would that cost? I can send 200 USD if you agree to collect 200 short stories for us about individual farmers in your area, why are they interesting and how might we contact them. If you can pay special attention to herbal tea growers and show a variety of social conditions and social arrangements, then that is especially helpful.
Andrius, Wendi writes:
"200 U.S Dollars can be able to give us a Pentium Two computer as we have gone back to the sales shops to ask. WE CAN ALSO EQUALLY HAVE THE INTERNET ACCESS connected also only for one computer now will be a different cost too depending on whether we are to use it for office use only and then pay a bill. We can buy the computer and then be using it for typing messages while waiting to have the connection to the Internet later when funds are available. We will very much like to actively participate in the FOOD STORY PROJECT too if you can just teach us how to do so. If we own a computer even first to be writing emails and copying on a diskette and bring it to the cyber cafe for now, it will still make things easier for us. We can buy a flash instead of a diskette for 25 dollars in addition, that can be used to store our documents to use in the future.
Ken has written:
"Am motivated by the powerful stories and accounts that I receive from this forum, that evoke and inspire some power of new ideas in me. In response to your question, am definetely and positively looking forward to start working immediately in gathering and posting stories for the my FoodStory project. I feel honoured. As I plan to get deeper into gathering and writing, I realise it's impossible to convey the essence of social agriculture without going into details that are only got through interviews, documents, follow up information, fact checks, and updates. I therefore would like to concentrate on a specific number of stories at a time. I know there are a platoon of questions and countless answers to respond to, and I'd like to know the areas you'd really wish me to explore."
Ken, this is fantastic, and what do you have experience of yourself related to food production, farmers, and the like? Perhaps if you do not already have such links, perhaps you could examine urban agriculture in the Nairobi area? Others may have suggestions too, and I will think more about this. You could do "short entries" instead of stories, unless you find some powerful full-length stories to share. You might hook up with Sam, Tom, and others in Kenya too. Thanks so much for your enthusiasm and help!
Tom Ochuka has also written to express interest in the project:
"About my food story...we have several deaf here doing well in farming. Joseph plants tomatoes and helps his mother, a widow. He's a member of the farming group in Nyando. If given farm implements, he can improve production and educate other deaf members to be pro-active in this way".
Tom, I'd love to work with you on this, and I believe Andrius and the rest of us would too! Can you start to gather and send short entries, Tom (I can help do edits now, and hopefully be more involved in March in other aspects)? Andrius may be able to consider some small payment ($1 per short entry abt a farmer, contact information, anything which seems pertinent, like Joseph helping his mother, a widow, with his tomato-growing). Andrius may have more to say to you abt this soon.
I'll be back again as soon as I can, and thanks to everyone for your caring, work, inputs, and enthusiasm! Blessings and best always, Janet