APATT_book mockup

A Place at the Table

Hospitality and community have been part of what it means to be A Rocha since the very beginning. In a new book co-written by Miranda Harris, a co-founder, and her daughter Jo Swinney, our Director of Communications, these themes are explored in the context of the many colourful stories of A Rocha tables around the world, inviting us all to a deeper relationship with each other, the earth and the God who invites us to feast with gratitude and generosity. Miranda’s tragic death in 2019 was a shock to many around the world who found her approach to hospitality and community a life-long inspiration. Published posthumously, A Place at the Table explores the transformative way in which sharing food is at the heart of a shared life. 

All royalties will go towards the work of the A Rocha worldwide family. You can support our work and be among the first to get your hands on a copy in early September by pre-ordering HERE.  Why not get one for yourself and one for a friend?  

This short film tells the story of how the book came about. You might want to have tissues to hand. 

For photographs, event information and more, visit placeatthetable.info    
Bob and Margaret Pullan 1983

In grateful remembrance of Bob Pullan

Photo caption: Bob and Margaret Pullan, 1983

A Rocha is grieving the loss of Bob Pullan who was the first chair of the A Rocha trustees in 1983 when the organization was established. At the time he was a senior lecturer in bio-geography at Liverpool University and had extensive experience of living and working in Africa. He was also church warden of St Mary’s Upton on Merseyside in the UK which was effectively the founding church for the fledgling project.

His first response on being asked to take on the role proved to be prophetic when he said ‘My life is ready for a new direction’. Many A Rocha members from UK gave their time and talents during the early years during which the first field study centre was established on the Alvor estuary in Portugal, but none gave more than Bob who with his wife Margaret saw their home overrun with volunteers, sweatshirts for sale, and publicity materials as they offered hospitality to many visitors. He led field expeditions for his students to stay in the centre and contributed some of the early work that surveyed disappearing wetlands and other habitats. The tradition of rigorous science and lively faith which has remained an A Rocha constant around the world owes a great deal to Bob’s initial leadership and his wisdom will be hugely missed.

Queen Elizabeth tree planting - cropped (David McKay)

Environmental education: sowing seeds for a sustainable world

In May, A Rocha staff, and Ugandan teachers and church leaders gathered at Kira Farm in Uganda for the A Rocha environmental education conference and workshops. 

The five-day conference was part of A Rocha International’s ongoing work to strengthen capacity for environmental education and build on the excellent work already being carried out by A Rocha organizations across Africa. Participants learned about the role of environmental education for reconnecting people and nature and for inspiring action for a sustainable world. They were encouraged to reimagine how they could be more effective and reach a wider audience, including sharing new methods for delivering environmental education. 

As part of the workshops, 35 teachers and six church leaders visited Kiteezi Church of Uganda Primary School near Kampala. Five years ago, Ibrahim Ssekama, one of the school’s teachers, asked A Rocha Uganda for help growing vegetables around the school grounds and incorporating environmental topics into the curricula. Since then, the school has received fruit trees through Gifts with a Difference, and they have extended the area for growing crops. Now they have huge cabbages and lots of other vegetables growing, and their whole compound is looking very green. Sack gardens demonstrate what can be done where land is scarce and plastic bottles are reused for growing seedlings. 

The teachers and church leaders went home equipped with new ideas, and enthused by a deeper understanding and with a stronger commitment to caring for creation in their work and communities.  

The conference and workshops could not have taken place without the generosity of all those who supported A Rocha International during the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2021. Thank you for enabling work like this to happen!