At school for biodiversity: 5 new gardens in Africa involving 5 thousand girls and boys

09 Sep 2020

More than five thousand girls and boys from primary schools in Mzuzu, in the district of Mzimba, in northern Malawi, will participate in the activities organized in the five new gardens in Africa that the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity recently inaugurated.

The project kicked off last March with a two-day training session organized in collaboration with the local ministries of Agriculture and Education and aimed at 24 teachers, directors, and members of the local communities that host the schools. The activities in the gardens with the students started in recent weeks, also due to the blocking of lessons determined by the Coronavirus emergency.

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A student in the school garden in Gamba, Malawi

The children, ages 5 to 8, are members of the indigenous communities of Tumbuka and Chewa. They are the protagonists: accompanied by trainers, in the Gardens they have the opportunity to approach native varieties and directly experience the principles of agroecological land management in the field, learning the conscious use of water resources, and seed saving. The Slow Food Gardens in Africa, in addition to providing fresh, good, clean, and fair food, are real open-air classrooms where children can learn while having fun.

“These schools act as learning models for other schools that want to get closer to the philosophy of good, clean and fair food,” comments Manvester Ackson Khoza, Malawi representative of the Slow Food Gardens in Africa project. “We want to spread the culture of our ancestors, explain to our people how to produce food independently and enable them to start businesses that – adopting an agroecological approach – are able to ensure an income.”

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Some trainers and students from the Tumbuka and Chewa indigenous communities in one of the new gardens.

The Gardens in Africa project aims to create ten thousand gardens in African schools and villages, to guarantee communities fresh and healthy food, and more. Slow Food’s commitment is comprehensive and goes from promoting local consumption to education in schools, from the enhancement of biodiversity to the enhancement of African gastronomy, up to raising awareness on major issues that have always been close to our hearts, such as GMOs, land grabbing and sustainable fishing.

The launch of the project took place in 2010 when the goal of creating a thousand gardens was set: once the goal was reached, in 2014 it was decided to relaunch the challenge to reach ten thousand. Today we are already at 3,334.

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Boys and girls from the Tumbuka and Chewa indigenous communities in one of the new gardens.

The five school gardens in Malawi represent only the first step in Life’s commitment to supporting the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity for the two-year period 2020 and 2021. Next year, in fact, again with the support of Life, the Slow Food Foundation will start five more gardens in Uganda.

“We are proud to undertake this important project and to renew our multi-year collaboration with the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity. A duty for our company also as proof of the fact that all our products come directly from the cultivation of the earth,” comments Davide Mario Sacchi, marketing manager and fourth generation of the Piedmontese family at the helm of Life. “In recent years we have also worked with Slow Food, and will continue to do so, in Italian schools with the Orto in Condotta project.”

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