Read the official newsletter in its original formatting here.
Dear BLI Family,
We are excited to update you on the continued growth and activity happening at BLI. With Cohort I Caretakers having graduated and started their own integral ecology farms across Uganda, we are starting to see BLI’s mission embraced by communities across the country. Back in Nandere, the BLI campus has remained a vibrant and lively hub of activity, welcoming visitors from across the world and amping up its community outreach to nearby villages. Read more about what is happening at BLI below.
Cohort I Officially Commissioned
This summer, BLI officially commissioned its Cohort I Caretakers. This cohort, made up of four men and four women, was the first group to fully complete the two-year residential program at BLI. Co-Founder and President Father Emmanuel Katongole named them “BLI’s pioneers” at the Commissioning and lauded their understanding and dedication to integral ecology.
BLI remains in close contact with these Caretakers, as all eight have now started their own integral ecology projects in their respective villages. While each project is fundamentally based in integral ecology, there is great diversity in the nature of each project: Jonas is raising birds, Alice has an array of different crops, and Yunus has started a tree nursery, just to name a few. Many of the Caretakers even have regular customers already, who come specifically to them to buy organic, sustainably-grown products. You can even find some of their farms on Google (see here)! We are excited to continue following these incredible projects and their impact in villages across Uganda.
Growing International Presence
BLI continues to grow its presence across the world. Recently, the University of Oxford’s Laudato Si’ Institute (United Kingdom) promoted BLI on its website, calling for interns who will conduct research on BLI’s campus in Nandere in early 2024. Notre Dame (USA) sent a group of students to visit the campus this past summer, an experience during which they learned about integral ecology from Father Emmanuel and other BLI staff. BLI was even featured in a recent Kellogg blog post on collaboration between Notre Dame and institutions in Africa. Interns from Duke School of Divinity and Wheaton College also spent multiple weeks on campus, engaging with the BLI curriculum and mission.
Community Outreach Abounds
BLI continues to increase its outreach to nearby communities. Typical events include campus tours, tree planting, soil experiments, and mini lessons in integral ecology and regenerative agriculture. As its presence in Uganda is growing, BLI was even featured in a recent article in the Ugandan Monitor outlining our strategy to conserve the only natural forest left in the Luwero District.
Current Visitors and Site Mapping
This October, renowned soil expert Ray Archuleta is returning to BLI along with a group of engineers from Engineering Ministries International to engage in robust site mapping of the BLI campus. Father Emmanuel will be joining the crew on the ground along with BLI USA Board Chair Andrea Cate Crary. This site mapping is especially important as BLI continues to develop its campus to accommodate more students in Nandere. Currently, construction is underway for a new dormitory that will help meet the increased demand from Ugandan students wanting to join BLI’s program. We wish safe and smooth travels to all those involved.