Thanks to a growing Slow Food movement in Africa and support from the international movement, food gardens will be established across the continent to support local food sovereignty in the new project ‘A Thousand Gardens in Africa’. The gardens will be created in schools and on community land in both urban and rural settings by working with the local Slow Food network and partner organizations, with project beginning in countries where Slow Food is already very active – including Kenya, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Mali, Morocco, Ethiopia, Senegal and Tanzania.
“The final objective our this project is food sovereignty and helping local farmers recreate their farming traditions,” says Serena Milano, Secretary General of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity. “We do not give local farmers kits with seeds and fertilizers… instead we help them recover certain local crop varieties that are more resistant and have less need for external inputs.”
“A garden is an ideal laboratory, because it encourages collaboration between people from different generations and backgrounds within the same community,” says Serena Milano. ”We promote educational activities alongside the garden so that children can learn to appreciate good food, learning from their elders and how to cook traditional recipes for example.”
The gardens will be cultivated using sustainable methods (composting, natural substances for disease and pest control, proper management of water), and will include fruit trees, vegetables and medicinal herbs, with priority given to local varieties. The projects will also aim to restore prestige to small farmers, an occupation now often shunned by young people in Africa as in many other parts of the world.
“Some time back we asked ourselves if our discourse on the quality of food and on products with strong links to the territory made sense in a continent ravaged by famine. But as through meeting and working with African farmers, speaking with them and listening to their concerns, we realized that small-scale family agriculture, based on the principles of sustainability, diversification and the promotion of local products and their consumption is maybe the only solution to continued famine, land degradation, land grabbing and the loss of community rights.”
1000 Gardens in Africa will be a major focus of Terra Madre Day this year on December 10, when the global Slow Food network celebrates local food in hundreds of community events. To support the project, events will be fundraising to adopt a garden or make a contribution, as well as organizing twinning initiatives to foster exchange between schools and communities in Africa and other parts of the world.
Adopting a garden will cover the costs of equipment, training, coordination, educational material in local languages, technical assistance, a contribution towards scholarships for young Africans and financial assistance for representatives of these projects to attend the international Terra Madre meeting.
The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity will manage the funds and coordinate activities in Africa.
To adopt a garden in Africa or receive further information, contact Elisabetta Cane, tel. +39 0172 419756 – [email protected]
Visit the Terra Madre Day website for more information on this global celebration of eating locally. Event registrations received by November 10 will be in time to receive the kit including a Terra Madre Day flag.