Our Impact

BLI is committed to regularly measuring our impact, both quantitatively and qualitatively. With our first group of caretakers now on campus, we are in the process of collecting information and stories from these caretakers. We will then continue to track their progress once they leave BLI to see the long-term results of their education with us. Additionally, we are regularly collecting data about the plants, trees, and other wildlife species on our campus to see the impact we are having on the land. We will continuously update this site so you can see the progress that we are making at BLI.

IMG_7013

Caretaker Stories

In the early months of 2021, BLI welcomed its first cohort of caretakers. For the first few months, 14 seminarians also joined this cohort, learning about integral ecology and care for creation. 16 other caretakers remain on campus today, residing in two dormitories. Click below to meet them!

BLI By The Numbers

Mary's Farm

Caretaker Formation

Currently, 16 Caretakers reside at BLI, learning about Integral Ecology and sustainable agriculture. 5 of these caretakers are women. Within five years, we plan to graduate 200 caretakers. By year 10, we will have graduated 400 caretakers. Once caretakers graduate, they are tasked with training 2-4 apprentices in their home villages. Therefore, within five years, there will be between 400 and 1000 Ugandan farmers trained in Integral Ecology.

Integral Ecology Farming

We grow a variety of crops on our campus, always using non-GMO, organic & sustainable agricultural techniques. Caretakers learn about these crops in the educational Mary's Farm component of the program. To date, we have grown a large variety of crops, including onions, tomatoes, carrots, beans, maize, bananas, cassava, sukama wiki, and elephant grass. They have produced ZERO waste. In July 2021, we harvested 400 kg of beans to be brought to market.

Animal Caretaking

A variety of animals currently call Mary's Farm home: 5 guinea fowl, 80 chickens, 14 turkeys, 5 goats, 2 cows, and 1 laying hen. In August 2021, one of our goats successfully birth a female child. Additionally, ten new turkeys hatched. We plan to continue expanding the number of animals on campus both through natural breeding and new purchases of stock. Our next expansions will be to rabbits, pigs, and fish.

Community Service

Since arriving on campus, our caretakers have conducted community service every week in the Luwero District. Additionally, multiple school children have toured the campus to learn about Integral Ecology. We currently have three local school partners: St. Theresa Primary School, St. Mary's Kikube Primary School, and St. John Bosco Secondary School. By 2030, we hope to have interacted with at least 5,000 local students, teaching them about Integral Ecology.

Lazarus' Forest

Reforestation

We continue to plant trees on BLI's campus and in the Luwero District. To date, we have planted over 30,000 trees. In the single month of August 2021, we planted 1,288 trees of the following species: Makhemia, Mahogany, Maesopsis, Terminalia, and Eucalyptus. Our goal is to plant 300,000 trees by 2030. By 2050, we will have planted 1 million trees. Within five years, we plan to reforest 35 hectares (around 86 acres). The total demarcated area for conservation is 97.75 hectares (around 250 acres).

Animal Biodiversity

Lazarus' Forest is the only forest within five districts. Since we have started restoring it, many animal species have returned to the area. This includes multiple families of monkeys, a large black mamba snake, a small cat, and various bird species. We are currently creating a system to identify and track these animals to better understand how many species reside in our forest.

Martha's Market

SACCO

A Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO) has been set up at BLI. 100% of staff are invested in this SACCO and the vast majority of Caretakers are also invested. Multiple Caretakers have also already taken out loans from this SACCO in order to buy seed, rent land, or pay other startup fees. Because the SACCO now has a significant amount of money invested, BLI leaders are looking for ways in which this money can be invested that is both financially smart and true to BLI's mission.

Market Ventures

Individual Caretakers have gone to the local market and surrounding villages to sell products from their demonstration plots. They have gained small sums of money from this, sums that completely belong to them. However, BLI wants to institutionalize this practice and enable more Caretakers to sell their products at the market. Therefore, in Fall 2021, BLI hired an official coordinator for Martha's Market. We will keep you updated on progress in this area.

BLI's theory of change centers around the assumption that change not only occurs from direct contact and interaction with people and environments but also through indirect contact. This is why BLI has the apprenticeship model built into the Caretaker formation program. When Caretakers take their knowledge and share it with apprentices back in their home villages, the knowledge of Integral Ecology and sustainable agriculture proliferates, reaching more people and places than BLI itself could ever hope to reach directly. Listed below are the ways that BLI sees its direct impacts turning into indirect impacts and creating far-reaching, lasting change.

Trained Caretakers (~30/year) --------> Caretaker apprentices (~60-120/year)

Partner school children (~600/year) --------> Local families (thousands)

Partner village households (~360/year) --------> Entire village/regional transformation

Planted trees (30,000/year) --------> Increased biodiversity, wildlife

Conserved forest (240 acres) --------> Cleaner air, less flooding and deforestation

Ethically treated animals --------> Safer proteins, less disease

Sustainable harvests --------> Food security, good nutrition, better health

“The ecological conversion needed to bring about lasting change is also a community conversion.” - Laudato Si', #219