Slow Food is a global grassroots organization that envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet. It has over 100,000 members worldwide, as well as a network of 2,000 food communities, joined in the Terra Madre network, who practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality foods. Thanks to its projects and activities, the network involves a large number of people in 150 countries. (www.slowfood.com)
From 3rd to 6th April 2012, Carlo Petrini, president and founder of Slow Food, will be in Uganda visiting local Slow Food and Terra Madre communities. Petrini will be in Kampala on 4th April 2012. Carlo Petrini’s trip to Uganda will also include visits to the following communities and school gardens:
Kyagalanyi Coffee Producers and Slow food gardens
Kyagulanyi coffee producers is an association of farmers in Mbale engaging in sustainable production and processing of Robusta coffee. This special Robusta coffee from these farmers is said to be the best in the world. He will also visit Slow Food community and school gardens under the 1000 garden project in Africa in the Eastern region.
Public lecture Makerere University-College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences
On 4th April Carlo Petrini will hold a public lecture at Uganda’s oldest, biggest and best University on the role and future of smallholder farmers in Uganda this is scheduled to take place at Makerere University – College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. He will also meet professors and students leaders engaging in food science and technology, plant breeding, extension, food processing and environmental conservation. Carlo Petrini will also meet a group of young people called ODLN-AGINSBA that is using multi-media technology to support smallholder farmer’s access to productive information and food security.
Luwero Traditional Robusta, coffee producers
Luwero is one of the very few communities still producing indigenous Robusta coffee locally known as “Kisansa”. This coffee has been identified by Slow Food international as a threatened coffee variety on the verge of extinction yet it among the best coffee varieties in the world. He will preside over the launch of the first Slow Food Presidium project (http://www.fondazioneslowfood.it/pagine/eng/presidi/cerca_presidi.lasso?-id_pg=11) in Uganda.
6th April 2012 Slow Food School and Community Gardens
On the last day Carlo Petrini will visit Slow Food supported school gardens around Mukono and finally a Fruit &Juice Party at Buiga Sunrise primary school (Mukono)
Slow Food’s commitment to Africa
Access to food and adequate nutrition are problems that affect a growing number of people in many countries around the world. There are currently 7 billion people living on the planet, and the demand for food is continually increasing as the population rises. According to the FAO, the amount of food produced in the world could feed 11 billion people. Nonetheless, more than 1 billion are still suffering from chronic hunger, whilst 1.5 billion adults are overweight. With increasing pressure being put on the world’s resources, it is estimated that 40% of the total daily global production of food is thrown away. These are all symptoms of an unhealthy and unequal food production system and it is often the world’s poorest who pay the highest price. The African continent is a paradigm of this situation, given the state of food insecurity, the high level of exploitation of natural resources and the waste of food due to lack of infrastructures. Through the Thousand Gardens in Africa project, the campaign against land grabbing, Presidia and farmers markets, Slow Food actively supports the African communities who are fighting for freedom from hunger and the right to food. In many cases, Slow Food’s commitment to these projects means not just improving quality of life, but guaranteeing the very survival of local communities.
A Thousand Gardens in Africa. Compared to the complexity and gravity of the problems facing the African continent, planting a food garden might seem like an insignificant gesture. But if a thousand food gardens are planted in two dozen countries, and if networks of farmers, agronomists, students and cooks spring up around each one, then these small projects can point the way towards a sustainable future, one that responds to the needs of local communities. This is not a future designed by big international financial institutions, who promote export crops and agricultural systems based on the massive use of chemical fertilizers. Nor is it the future foreseen by foreign investors, who are buying up Africa’s most fertile land at cut-rate prices to grow food for their own countries. This is why Slow Food launched the Thousand Gardens in Africa project in 2011. The food gardens, run by Africans and designed according to their needs, will be created in time for Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto 2012.
During 2011, the national coordinators met on various occasions to decide what to plant in the gardens and how they should be cultivated. They came up with solutions specific to the environments of each country, whether Moroccan oases, arid lands in Mali, the Kenyan highlands or Uganda’s forests. These will not be ordinary gardens. The communities will produce their own seeds, grow traditional crops (vegetables, legumes, fruits, culinary and medicinal herbs) and use natural methods to fertilize the soil and combat pests and weeds.
The thousand African gardens will involve young people, but they will be based on the wisdom of older generations. In these open-air classrooms, local food will be taught and promoted and experiences and knowledge will be shared. The Thousand Gardens project involves 25 African countries.
For further information on the project, please visit: www.slowfoodfoundation.org
It is possible for the press to take part in some of the visits to the communities and school gardens.
For interview requests and any further information, please contact:
Paola Nano – Slow Food International Press Director
Italian mobile +39 329 8321285
Kenyan mobile +254707693824 (from the 25th of March)