Tooro Botanical Gardens set aside a 2 acre garden at its main garden to serve as a practical training Centre for the local community. The center is composed of a food garden, living home pharmacy, fruit trees paved walkways and grass thatched banda in the middle of the center.
The communities around TBG are faced with fuel problems as people have resorted to live in towns and trading centers and due to high costs of living attributed with high electricity charges people are using charcoal and other unclean sources of energy for fuel and this has resulted to deforestation of the forests in the region, to this matter therefore TBG has established a bio-fuel demonstration garden with trees that have potential to be turned into safer energy options.
The edible plant garden contains a variety of domesticated and wild plants like local banana varieties as Mutuuli, Endyabawali, Sukaali, Bagwiremwiju, Embiira, Musa, Kisubi, Kitika, Mujuba, Enkonera, Siira, Gonja, Enyaruteere and Enyamanswali. All these are conserved banana varieties can no more easily found in people’s plantations. Fruits as Tree tomato, Naseberries, mangoes, oranges, pineapples, pawpaws, guava, cape gooseberries, sugarcane and vegetables as black night shade, Eteke, Enyamusiri, Eyobyo, Omubwiga, Amaranthus , collards, spinach, lettuce, leeks, radish, carrots, pumpkins, root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, cassava among others.
This section is meant to empower TBG workers, surrounding communities with crop production skills but also increase on the on the organizational revenue through sales. Some of the harvested food is consumed by staff improving on their nutrition as pass knowledge onto their families. The garden also serves as an education and demonstration centre for learning, research towards the conservation and restoration of the threatened local varieties.
At the heart of garden is the endangered species island which acts as a rescue center for endangered species.Key among others Encephalartos whitelockii which was previously classified as Vulnerable based on its small extent of occurrence and area of occupancy and occurrence at a single location. At the time, there was no evidence of decline.
However, in May 2007, approval was given for the construction of a hydroelectric plant above the waterfall where the plants occur and construction work began in 2008. The construction has resulted in decline in the population. Although a management plan was developed, the construction and increased access to the site has led to decline which may continue. TBG has taken the initiative to protect this species both in situ and ex situ at the garden and other selected places.
This species is listed on Appendix I of the CITES Appendices. Although the gorge falls within the Queen Elizabeth National Park, 90% of the population occurs outside the park
The Batooro tribe is well-known for its colourful handcrafts, such as baskets, shopping bags and furniture. To guard against the disappearance of this knowledge, TBG has developed a programme to promote the domestication and conservation of natural dye plants. Today, numerous trees, shrubs and herbs, are cultivated to produce dyes, for coloured fibers (handcraft), food coloring, clothes coloration and local nail vanish and lipstick. Soon the plants will be processed in TBG, colour extraction processes will be employed in varying degrees according to the species, to obtain yellow, orange, brown, green and black dyes among others.