microBIOMETER® in Sierra Leone

Drew Hundelt, Horticultural Specialist and Agroecology Practicioner, has partnered with Gibrill Sesay at Central University in Sierra Leone and microBIOMETER® is playing an important role in their work. Central University is a beautifully maintained college campus nestled in the lush tropical surroundings of Tonkolili in the Northern Provence.

Drew first became acquainted with Gibrill through the United States Department of State’s Community Engagement Exchange Program. The two spent some time at The Urban Farm in Denver facilitating agricultural programming for local neighborhoods. Shortly thereafter, their application to the reciprocal grant was approved which allowed Drew to visit Central University as an agricultural specialist in the Spring of 2023.

Utilizing the microBIOMETER®, Drew is currently working with the university on curriculum development around soil health in agriculture. Their most recent trials analyze how the effects of compost extract using soil from termite hills can bring about exponential growth and drought resistance to crops. The students are using the kit to get real time results of how the fungi to bacteria ratio can be a catalyst to real beneficial change.

“I had the opportunity to collaborate on several lectures and practicums for 30 students in the agricultural department. I spoke on the advantages of regenerative agriculture, community-built systems, and biologically driven yields. What struck me the most was the look in their eyes and how their spirit was teaming with curiosity. I knew then, initiated by the financial constraints of affording a commercial soil diagnostic lab, that I needed to get a biological tool into their hands to foster that curiosity. I am extremely hopeful about what the future holds for Central University, small-holder farmers in Sierra Leone, and West Africa at large. ” Drew Hundelt