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Roswell restaurant employee teaching innovative farming techniques
by Joan Durbin
jdurbin@neighbornewspapers.com
August 14, 2013 11:58 AM | 2221 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Erin Gray<br>Sarah Buchanan and James Masson inside of their garden planted in a drainage ditch behind Table and Main.
Staff / Erin Gray
Sarah Buchanan and James Masson inside of their garden planted in a drainage ditch behind Table and Main.
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Not everyone can figure out how to make a sustainable garden thrive in a barren irrigation ditch.

But Sarah Buchanan can. She and her boyfriend, James Masson, planted one behind Table & Main restaurant in Roswell, where Buchanan works as a server.

To spread knowledge of similarly innovative farming methods and equip small farmers to carry them out, she and Masson founded the Kula Project, in 2012.

The word kula means “to eat” in Swahili, Buchanan said. “We decided to focus on farmers because according the Gates Foundation, investment in agriculture is twice as effective at alleviating poverty as investments in any other sector.

“We started in Africa because it was after my first trip to Kenya in 2009 with 410 Bridge, an Alpharetta-based nonprofit, that I decided I wanted to devote my life to international development,” Buchanan said.

“However, our international work is not limited to Africa. Over the next year, we are working on building a team that can extend our farmer sponsorships to Southeast Asia and Latin America.”

The couple created Kula Project when they lived right off Canton Street in Roswell, but they recently moved to Woodstock.

“The majority of our U.S. programs are based in Roswell and our donor base is in Roswell,” Buchanan said.

Here in America, they focus on teaching children the importance of growing food and knowing where their food comes from.

On Aug. 22, Kula Project will host #FORTHEFARMER, a fundraising event to support its farmer sponsorship programs in Kenya and Rwanda.

On that evening, several of Atlanta’s top restaurants will donate 20 percent of their sales to Kula Project.

The list of participating eateries boasts some of the best in the north Fulton and metro area. In addition to Table & Main, there is Little Alley Steak, The Salt Factory Pub, Opulent, Chicken and the Egg, The Optimist, King + Duke, Far, Burger Dunwoody, The Iberian Pig, Sugo and Double Zero Napoletana.

“Table & Main is proud to support our own Sarah Buchanan’s organization. She has been with Table&Main since our opening, and I’ve had to opportunity to watch her and James take Kula Project from an idea to a reality,” said restaurant co-owner Ryan Pernece.

Proceeds from #FORTHEFARMER will benefit Kula Project’s work in Kenya this October, where they begin their work with a Kenyan woman who uses the food from her 15-acre farm to feed the children in her orphanage.

In partnership with Just One Foundation, Kula Project will work with her over the next several months to install drip irrigation and rain water collection, which will allow the farm to be productive through the dry season.

The trip will also include a stop in Rwanda, where Kula will work with Land of a Thousand Hills’ head agronomist to install drip irrigation on their seedling farmers in effort to prevent crop losses due to water inefficiencies.

For more information on the foundation or #FORTHEFARMER, go to www.kulaproject.org.

Social media-active diners can tweet and tag #FORTHEFARMER now through Aug. 22 during the event for a chance to receive a $100 gift card to Fifth Group Restaurants.
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