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Maple Farms

Sharing Ag Knowledge Globally

Years of farming experience have put Scott and Cheryl Maple in an ideal position to share their production knowledge with small farmers around the globe.

“It’s significant and a sense of pride that we help grow food for the country and the world, but we often take food for granted here in our country,” Scott says. “It is a huge sense of pride to know that, roughly, 1% of our population is able to feed the entire country plus a lot of the rest of the world, too.”

When they are not busy working on their farm, Scott and Cheryl, who operate Maple Farms near Kokomo, Indiana with five partners, are volunteers with Heart of Africa’s Heart and Hands Foundation, based in Kyenjojo, Uganda. They travel to Uganda two weeks each year.

“Through our church, we work with an agriculture program in Western Uganda where subsistence farmers are growing food just to get through the next day,” Scott says. “They’re always looking for food.”

The foundation operates a postsecondary vocational school to train young Ugandans to successfully work in careers such as tailoring, woodworking and motorcycle repair, which is critical in an area that relies on motorcycles as the main mode of transportation.

From Left to Right: Daryl Maple, Scott Maple, Mark Maple, Matt Pall, Congressman Jim Baird, Jason Maple, Dylan Conwell, Charlie Maple, Bill Maple, Tom Maple

In conjunction with that effort, Scott is among a group of volunteers developing an agricultural program that includes a demonstration farm at the vocational school. The goal is to educate area farmers about the latest and best practices they can adopt on their farms to maximize production.

“Many of the farmers own a 1-acre plot of land and they use every bit of soil they own to grow food,” Scott says. “However, most have not been taught the latest techniques and best practices to maximize what they can produce. It’s not that the knowledge isn’t over there, it just needs to be spread.”

While the project is ongoing, the volunteer group was forced to pause its travel plans in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. Volunteers plan to return to Uganda as soon as travel is allowed.

Despite the COVID-19-related challenges, Scott says there is one positive lesson that came out of the pandemic.

“Product shortages at the grocery store woke many people up to the fact that there is not an infinite supply of food available,” he says. “We sometimes take that for granted here in America because we’ve been blessed with a great climate and great soil to grow food. Not everyone has that.

“We are really blessed with an ample food supply in the United States, and while only a small number of people grow that food, there’s a larger group of people who are involved in getting us the inputs we need to grow it and converting agricultural products into something that can be put on a grocery shelf,” Scott adds.

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