The Biodiversity of East Africa at Terra Madre

06 Sep 2022

The Slow Food network from East Africa will be represented by Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Ethiopia and Rwanda, consisting of around 50 delegates in total. This diverse group of farmers, producers, chefs, academics, activists and communicators from the Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN) are eagerly awaiting the event.

Uganda will be the most represented country from the region, with almost 15 delegates coming to Turin this year, many of them representing indigenous communities.

After the 8th International Congress held on July 16, we are proud to welcome back from Uganda, Edward Mukiibi: food and agriculture educator, social entrepreneur and, as of this month, officially the new President of Slow Food International.

UPCOMING EVENTS: CONFERENCES, ARENAS DEBATES AND UNISG MEETINGS

On Thursday, September 22, at 5.30 p.m., in the Kyoto Room of the Environment Park, Mukiibi will be one of the speakers at the major conference The Regeneration We Need, where we discuss the need to talk about the regeneration of the food system and how this regeneration can respond to the climate, ecological and social emergencies we are facing.

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Edward Mukiibi

In the Gino Strada Arena, on Monday 26 from at 12 p.m., Asmelash Dagne Datiko will attend a Food talk on Permaculture and Agroecology, showing us an example of Regeneration in Ethiopia. Asmelash is a teacher and member of the Slow Food network in Ethiopia helping farmers to regenerate soil and combat desertification. Asmelash installs solar water wells in the most remote parts of Ethiopia and teaches agroecological and permaculture practices, applying models taken from natural ecosystems to agricultural and social planning.

YOUTH AND FOOD

In the Arena dedicated to Berta Càceres there will be two meetings featuring activists from East Africa. On the same day at 12 p.m., a food mediator from Turin, a Colombian woman and an Indigenous Endorois boy from Kenya take us on a journey through projects, resilience, collective involvement and food sovereignty. They are the example of how the connection between food and youth can mean creativity, determination and resilience. During the discussion, we can ask them questions about how you get back on your feet after a hurricane, how you can develop projects in one of the driest areas of Kenya, or how you can work creatively in one of the most difficult areas of the city to create a safer and more livable neighborhood.

INDIGENOUS KRAMAJONG HERDERS

On Friday 23 at 10 a.m. we stand alongside Indigenous Karamajong herders thanks to Umar Bashir Ochen, a young Indigenous Ugandan. The Indigenous Karamojong pastoralist community, to which he belongs, faces daily challenges due to climate change, among other issues. Bashir has started to introduce the good practices of agroecology in his area and, thanks to perseverance and some project funds, has managed to strengthen the participation of the indigenous youth in a strong network of collaboration.

Together with these other youths he is defending their local food heritage and trying to raise awareness of the value and benefits of indigenous food and to make people aware of the importance of preserving biodiversity. He has organized a farmers’ market, which has allowed farmers to sell their indigenous products and exchange technical and agronomic information.

THE CHALLENGES FOR YOUNG AFRICAN GASTRONOMES

On Thursday, September 22 from noon to 1 p.m., as part of the program of events organized by the University of Gastronomic Sciences, there will be a meeting that explores what challenges young African gastronomes face. John Kiwagalo, a farmer, food activist and communicator of the Slow Food Youth Network, Livingstone Kiggwe, a UNISG student, and John Wanyu, a producer, academic and communicator of the Slow Food Coffee Coalition, will talk about the different campaigns they are engaged in. Among the themes, the introduction of GMOs in agriculture, land grabbing and its impact on the lives of women and children, and the preservation and promotion of local production such as coffee and banana plantations in Uganda.

REGENERACTIONS

The RegenerActions are suggestions, ideas, solutions to regenerate our food through simple actions or recipes you can make at home.

On Thursday September 22, from 2 to 3 p.m, delegates from different countries will teach African educational practices against food waste with simple techniques and activities for both children and adults. During this activity, we take a journey through African countries and their cultures and learn to give new life to leftover or discarded ingredients. The starting point is Nigeria with the young cook Olajumoke Okeola, who will show us how to make tea with pineapple rind. Next stop is Kenya, where we’ll learn to make a cake out of overripe bananas. In Uganda, finally, we’ll discover how to turn leftover cooked vegetables into powder.

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Teff

Meanwhile on the same day, from 6.30 to 7.30 p.m., we discover the foods of Ethiopia, like injera, teff and berberè. Similar in shape to the Indian chapati, the Greek pita, Arab bread or the Italian piadina, the injera belongs to the vast round and flat bread family, and is a staple food in Ethiopia. It is made from teff flour, teff being a native cereal. In this workshop we discover Ethiopia, one of the most fascinating countries in Africa through its food products and dishes. As well as injera and teff, we also explore berberé and moringa and Buchana, dumplings made with wheat or corn flour, beans and moringa.

They’ll be presented by Asmelash Dagne Datiko, an academic, food activist and communicator of SFYN and the Indigenous Terra Madre network, Menna Amanuel Samuel, an educator of Slow Food Youth Network, project coordinator at Gardula People’s Development Association (GPDA) and Ayele Eskender Mulugeta, director of the “Foods Secured Schools Africa” organization and also a producer of the Indigenous Terra Madre Network.

REGENERATING THE SOIL

Eskender Mulugeta and Amanuel Samnuel, from Ethiopia, know very well that a healthy soil needs a good amount of care and attention. On sunday 25 at 10 a.m, in the meeting Soil Regeneration practices from Ethiopia, they share their methods for ensuring you reach planting season with soil that’s bursting with nutrients and happiness. Increasing crop yield in a sustainable way has never looked so easy!

SCHOOL GARDENS

Through the RegenerActions series we can also see how food education is developing in schools around the world. And when it comes to school gardens activities, we know that our East Africa team fears no comparison! Throughout the years they have been establishing hundreds of school gardens all over the area and many more to come. On this occasion, they will highlight good practices – focusing on cone gardens – that they have been developing to engage pupils in a playful yet educational path and a hands on approach to the production of good, clean and fair food.

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