The heart of BLI is the Caretaker program, an intensive two-year residential program where students, called Caretakers, train in farming, agroforestry, agro-business, and personal formation. The three branches of BLI - Mary's Farm, Martha's Market, and Lazarus' Forest - are the Caretaker's training arenas.
Caretakers learn by doing. With just a few hours a week in the classroom, the bulk of training happens in the field. In the first year, the Caretakers work in Mary’s Farm, our demonstration farm; in the second year they design, create, and tend their own individual farming plots. This hands on approach leads to questions, problem solving, and discoveries that couldn’t happen in the classroom alone.
Martha’s Market is also run by Caretakers. The Market is a platform for Caretakers to learn business skills including putting the earnings from their produce towards their tuition. Upon completion of our guesthouse, the Caretakers will learn skills in hospitality management as well.
The Lazarus Forest program seeks to reverse the rapidly spreading trend of deforestation, and thus effect ecological resurrection through ecological literacy and reforestation efforts. At the heart of this program is the cultivation of a natural forest and various kinds of fruit trees. A plant nursery provides free plantings and training to the local community through outreach programs on our campus, at schools and community events.
What happens after the Caretakers graduate is what makes BLI’s programing transformative. As a prerequisite to joining the program, each Caretaker commits to training 4 apprentices in the next 2 years, and freely sharing their knowledge with everyone. In this way the Caretakers become an ever expanding network of thoughtful, creative farmers.
Caretakers formed at BLI become Change Makers in Uganda.