“Terra Madre Day has continued to play a key role in addressing challenges by sensitizing communities and reminding them of the importance of sustainable agriculture, traditional food and biodiversity conservation,” says John Kariuki, Slow Food Foundation Vice President and coordinator of Slow Food activities in Kenya. “The event has also acted as a platform for bringing communities together and strengthening their local economies as a united force.”
This celebration of local food does seem to be a truly important moment for local communities across the African continent. Edie Mukiibi, Slow Food International Vice President, tells us about one event in Uganda: “At the Nama Wellness Youth Centre in Mukono, the national SFYN network will organize an evening dedicated to local and traditional products. The Forgotten Vegetables Party will be a unique opportunity to get to know foods from regions and cultures around the country, with traditional recipes. We hope to get young people curious about these often-forgotten foods and bring back to the table products that can often play a fundamental role in food sovereignty.”
The Slow Food Youth Network Kenya will be busy too, with members of the network organizing a Disco Soup at the Molo Street Children Project compound. John tells us more: “The event will shed light on the astonishing food waste in Kenya today despite the fact that a significant number of people go to bed hungry. Between 30% and 40% of the food produced in Kenya is lost or wasted. The event will also invite communities to care for the less fortunate, including vulnerable children, and to do their part to reduce suffering in the midst of plenty in the African continent. Food will arrive from the neighboring communities, including some who participate in the 10,000 Gardens in Africa, and will be chopped, cooked and enjoyed together with the children involved in the project. The region is experiencing a lot of food losses due to the on-going El Niño rains, low prices and a poor road network, which makes transportation of agricultural products a nightmare in many rural areas.” The network will conclude its celebrations on December 11 in Machakos with a reunion that will bring together the delegation that represented Kenya at Terra Madre Giovani – We Feed the Planet to offer feedback, hear a talk on climate change and agriculture, share a meal and officially launch the network in the region.
Back in Uganda, the 10,000 Gardens in Africa project will be the focus of many events. In the Masaka, Sembabule, Rakai and Lwengo districts, local communities will share a meal near their gardens, cooking the harvest grown together and raising awareness among their neighbors about the role of the gardens and the Slow Food philosophy. The Slow Food Mukono Convivium, for example, has organized an evening at the Kisoga Community Center dedicated to foods and recipes that have almost completely disappeared.
The South Eastern Convivium will hold its Terra Madre Day at Kathonzweni School for the Disabled. The school will invite students from the neighboring school and communities to learn from their garden and remind them that disability does not mean inability. Garden products will be harvested and several traditional dishes prepared for the Terra Madre Day lunch.
And over in Kenya again, the music and culture of the local Kuresoi community will be brought together with good food. The Slow Food Central Rift Convivium will be celebrating alongside the initiation ceremony for the elders of the community in the northern Kuresoi district. The farming community will unite in front of the traditional council to share together with the young people, the “new” elders of the council and the community leaders not just prayers and common values, but also traditional food and music.
The Emuhaya Convivium will hold an event on renewable energy to create awareness about different technologies that can help in improving energy efficiency in the kitchen. Energy-saving stoves and pots will be used to prepare traditional dishes that will be served and enjoyed to commemorate Terra Madre Day. The event is also aimed at inviting communities to play their part in environmental conservation by reducing deforestation brought about by increased demand for wood for fuel. The event will take place on December 8 at the Bio-Gardening Innovations Centre in Emuhaya. The Mwea Convivium will hold an event entitled “Eating indigenous food is not a trend, it is a return to our culture” in Kiaga village. Several traditional foods that are no longer being eaten in the village will be cooked and served, accompanied by traditional folk songs.
Across in West Africa, in Senegal, the Ndarndar-bi Convivium will dedicate Terra Madre Day to coffee. The event planned for December 10 in Dakar will focus on Touba coffee, produced by the city’s local food community. Touba coffee is flavored with Guinea pepper, known as diar in Wolof. The founder of the Mouride brotherhood, Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba, is said to have brought the recipe to Senegal in the early 1900s following his exile in Gabon. The Mouride brotherhood still places a high symbolic value on the beverage and consumes it during religious ceremonies. For some years, Touba coffee has been growing in popularity outside the circle of the Mourides. It is now commonly sold by street vendors on the side of road, especially near schools and offices.
“Terra Madre Day is a the celebration of our traditional, indigenous and local foods,” says Edie Mukiibi. “It is a day to showcase our food biodiversity with pride and gratitude to Mother Earth. The size of the event should not matter, but what matters is the willingness to come together and celebrate out food heritage and biodiversity”.
Discover other events and celebrate with us on December 10! Check out the website for more, and don’t forget to publish your event on the Facebook page!