Nicole Dewing and Mamadou Sarr: Co-Founders of Taaru Askan
When Nicole and Mamadou founded Taaru Askan, they saw their farm as a place where they could grow their own organic vegetables and re-introduce traditional fruit trees that were rapidly disappearing from the region. Spending weekends away from the busy and noisy metropolis Dakar (the capital of Senegal), Taaru Askan Farm was a place of refuge and peace.
As an American from Vermont, a small rural state in the USA, Nicole has always preferred rural life and aspired to live on a farm. She never imagined it would be in West Africa! Mamadou -who is from the Sereer ethnic group, who are known as being the predominant farmers of Senegal’s Petite Côte region- grew up cultivating his father's land and helping provide for the nutritional needs of his large, extended family.
Both Nicole and Mamadou thus channeled their passion for agriculture and sustainable development into building Taaru Askan Farm into a special place that they now see as home. While both Mamadou and Nicole work full time jobs during the week in Dakar, their hearts -and weekend jobs!- are at the farm. As Taaru Askan grows, Nicole and Mamadou are expanding the reach of their farm to help develop Senegal’s organic movement. They are collaborating and creating partnerships with a variety of local actors -including universities, NGOs, and small-holder organic farmers- to create and promote a development model for ecological practices in bio-diversity, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and forestry in Senegal.
Seynabou Camara: financial manager
Seynabou came to Taara Askan after completing the Youth and Exchange Study (YES) U.S State Department funded program that Nicole used to manage. Seynabou spent a year in Georgia, USA where she attended high school in 2013.
She is currently pursuing a masters in statistical analysis at the University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, while working at Taaru Askan as our accountant and financial manager.
"Kaba" Mamadou Diallo: Assistant Farm Manager
Kaba grew up in the Pita Region of Guinea. He first came to Senegal to find work to help support his family. Kaba first began working in one of Mamadou’s other farming projects. Fortunately, he came to Taaru Askan farm over five years ago and quickly proved himself and was promoted to assistant Farm manager. He is a hard-worker and always has a pleasant demeanor and a warm smile. He is a favorite among the volunteers and as such he has friends all over the world waiting for him to visit.
Mamadou Gueye ~ Farm Manager
With an education and background in horticulture and dendrology, Mamadou has a wealth of experience in managing staff as well as the many aspects of a farm. His speciality is working with greenhouses and nurseries. We are pleased to have him leading the Taaru Askan team.
Arona Diatta ~ Communications & Logistics Intern
Finishing a masters in English Literature at St. Louis University, Arona works at the Dakar Office coordinating the deliveries to CSA members and clients & managing communications. Arona is studying to be a journalist and as such manages the social media posts and interviews staff and members to introduce the Taaru Askan Family to a wide audience.
Ibrahima Vincent Mané ~ Farm Hand ~
Young, energetic and full of good energy, Mané brings a lot of joy to the Farm. While working with Taaru Askan he is studying to take his BAC exam in order to further his education. A semi-professional rapper, you will often find him signing while he works.
Dr. Mamadou Ndiaye: Technical Advisor/Consultant
Dr. Ndiaye is a trained agronomist, researcher-consultant, teacher, trainer of technicians, producers and supervisor of undergraduate, masters and doctorates students in Agronomy / Phytotechnology. He works with Taaru Askan as a technical advisor to the staff. He loves everything that is a green vegetable! What impresses him most about Taaru Askan is the biodiversity approach and organic production with high added value and that the Farm sells within the local markets. We are fortunate to have Dr. Ndiaye as part of our team!
Issa Seydina Gaye - Agricultural Technicien
Issa comes to Taaru Askan with a degree in horticulture and experience working with small farms. With his love for animals he was recruited to manage the animals at the Farm and is loved by all of them.
Theodore Felix Ngom: Artist in Residence
Theo has more than 22 years of experience as an artist, and has been working with Taaru Askan since its inception. All of the decorations and paintings on the farm are Theo’s work, and Theo also designed Taaru Askan’s logo. Theo lives in nearby town of Joal Fadiouth, and loves visiting Taaru Askan because of the peacefulness and inspiration that the farm provides.
Samba Sene: Maintenance and Buildings Manager
Samba lives in nearby Joal, and has been working with the Taaru Askan team for a long time. He has managed the construction of most of the buildings on the farm property. As a Baye Fall -which is a member of a Muslim brotherhood in Senegal- he values hospitality, solidarity, and family. For him, Taaru Askan embodies these same values, which has in part motivated his collaboration with the farm. Samba is also teaching his children how to construct buildings and manage infrastructure projects, in the hopes that they will eventually take over his construction business when he retires.
Jean Marie Sambou ~ Technical Consultant
Jean Marie, from the Casamance area and with a degree in horticulture, works with Taaru Askan as a consultant - helping with trainings, follow up visits and in general technical support.
Awa Diouf: Cook and Logistical Assistant
Awa has been working at Taaru Askan since 2014. She is best known for her wonderful sense of humor and the great meals she makes for the farm staff and volunteers. In addition to her work cooking for farm staff, Awa helps keep the farm organized and clean, which is an extremely important task. She considers the farm as her second home, and we’re thrilled to have her as part of our Taaru Askan family.
Modou Diome - 10 month Intern
Modou originally from the Diourbel Region comes to Taaru Askan through a collaboration with "Friends of Africa," a partner in developing an organic movement in Senegal. Modou is learning all aspects of regenerative and organic farming as well as how to execute a weekly program and lead a team of farm workers. He will reurn in October 2021 to Friends of Africa's Training Center to implement an organic garden there. Taaru Askan pleased to be involved in such a collaboration.
Alfred Sambou - 10 month Intern
Alfred from Casamance comes to Taaru Askan through a collaboration with "Friends of Africa," a partner in developing an organic movement in Senegal. Alfred is learning all aspects of regenerative and organic farming as well as how to execute a weekly program and lead a team of farm workers. He will reurn in October 2021 to Friends of Africa's Training Center to implement an organic garden there. Taaru Askan pleased to be involved in such a collaboration.
Cherif Khoury ~ Media & Website Design
Cherif is a professional photographer and video producer. Taaru Askan is fortunate to have him working with us. He produces our videos, manages our website and all other media outlets.