On February 17, 2014, the event “Slow Food for Africa” in Milan marked the officially relaunch of the Thousand Gardens in Africa project. The garden project has already created one thousand sustainably farmed food gardens in schools, villages and on the outskirts of cities in 26 African countries since its creation in 2010.
The new target: ten thousand gardens.
The Thousand Gardens in Africa project was launched to enable communities to grow and eat fresh local food, as well as to safeguard and promote traditional knowledge and practices as an approach towards food sovereignty and security. The newly relaunched project is a major focus for Slow Food; both for working within the framework of the 2014 International Year of Family Farming (as designated by FAO) and for building strong leadership in different African countries to enable local people to take the challenge of freeing their continent from hunger into their own hands.
José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director General, expressed his support through his presence at the event. In his speech he said that “10,000 food gardens will increase food production and the availability of local products, diversify diets and improve nutrition in the sustainable way that needs to guide all our action. Food gardens are part of the paradigm shift we need and shares many similarities to family farming”. He added that “with the combination of gardens and youth, we have the possibility to improve food security through the local production of healthy food”.
Slow Food President Carlo Petrini emphasized in his speech that the approach of the gardens project is not one of charity; it is one of restitution and giving back what is theirs. It’s about jointly addressing problems that concern all of us: hunger, pollution and land grabbing.
Five active members represented the African Slow Food network and spoke about different aspects of the ongoing work in Africa. Edie Mukiibi, new Vice President of Slow Food International, gave an evaluation of the recently concluded first phase of the project: “Four years ago, in Africa, Slow Food embarked on a great challenge: to create a thousand food gardens across the continent. At the time, it seemed like an ambitious dream. But now we realize that we have done much more than simply create gardens: We have created an important network that is growing and working to change Africa, to offer our children a future of peace and justice, and to guarantee everyone access to good, clean and fair food”. The event gathered important Italian representatives from the financial world, who constitute significant donors for the gardens project.
Find photos of the Slow Food for Africa event here
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Watch the video of the event: