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Winrock International

Goat Bridges the Cultural Divide

Peter Saling, associate director, Agriculture and Volunteer Programs


The mission of Winrock International’s agriculture unit is to develop partnerships, pilot new ideas and advance solutions to strengthen communities through resilient farming and food systems. While our impact is global, sometimes we get to enjoy the benefits ourselves.

This February, two important events for Winrock converged in Washington, D.C. Winrock’s international agriculture programs held a strategic planning retreat, bringing together colleagues from Little Rock and across the country. Concurrently, Farmer-to-Farmer meetings provided an occasion for representatives from Winrock’s five country programs to travel from Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal. The rarity of having colleagues, friends and family from across the world gathered at one time required a proper feast. Enter the goat, provided by our friends at Browse and Grass Growers Cooperative.

Grilling goat legs in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol building.

Cooking to such divergent tastes requires some creativity. For the West African guests, the goat leg was rubbed with Tavia spice rub, braised and served with rice. For guests from the southern United States, the goat was grilled and roasted and served with cheese grits. The combinations were enjoyed by all.

High quality, sustainably sourced food is not only essential for feeding future generations and protecting the environment, it’s an occasion to gather and strengthen bonds between cultures.

“I appreciated the goat you prepare for us, it’s a special meal for important guests in West Africa,” said Papa Diagne, program officer for Winrock’s Farmer-to-Farmer program in Senegal. The meal, and especially the goat, provided the perfect centerpiece around which to honor guests and create stronger ties.

Farmer-to-Farmer Country Director Ibrahima Diallo, Program Manager Gelsey Bennett and daughter Sadie.

Winrock International and the Browse and Grass Growers Cooperative partner to implement the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer West Africa program in Mali, assisting local organizations to integrate climate smart practices and develop income-generating opportunities to support rural livelihoods. Farmer-to-Farmer fosters information and cultural exchange by fielding American volunteers to share expertise. Winrock and Browse and Grass Growers are working together to increase economic opportunity in Mali.


This article originally ran on the blog Common Pastures.

Related Projects

West Africa Farmer-to-Farmer

The West Africa F2F program aims to enhance the agricultural sectors of Guinea, Senegal, and Sierra Leone by utilizing climate-smart agriculture innovations, local technologies, and targeted interventions for marginalized groups to improve access to technology, food security and nutrition, and skills development to boost agricultural productivity and support resilient livelihoods.