10,000 Food Gardens to Cultivate the Future
We made our dream of creating a thousand food gardens in Africa a reality. But the Slow Food network isn’t stopping there. Now we want to create ten thousand, to promote local food consumption and celebrate the continent’s biodiversity.
We have reached our goal. Thanks to the mobilization of Slow Food’s entire internaional network and the work of the convivia and African communities, we have created 1,000 food gardens in Africa. The gardens involve over 50,000 people, including farmers, agronomists, students and teachers.
Thanks to the gardens project, Slow Food’s African network has been strengthened, new communities have been started, many endangered local foods have been identified and new Presidia have been launched.
We’ve come a long way. Just think back to before 2004, when the first Terra Madre was held. Slow Food had only a minimal presence in Africa, with just two convivia in South Africa and three Presidia, in Morocco and Madagascar. Slow Food in Africa today, after five Terra Madre global gatherings and the first thousand gardens in Africa, comprises 354 food communities in 38 countries, 100 convivia, 30 Presidia and 84 Ark of Taste products. This context means we can set ourselves an ambitious new challenge: 10,000 food gardens in Africa!
Behind this extra zero lies a political proposal. This five-digit number represents Slow Food’s entire strategy in Africa, which involves promoting local food consumption and food education in schools, protecting biodiversity (Ark of Taste and Presidia), adding value to African gastronomy and raising awareness about crucial issues like GMOs, land grabbing and sustainable fishing.
Creating 10,000 food gardens means training a network of young African leaders by 2016 who will actively guide the policies and operations of the Slow Food movement in Africa. These leaders will be aware of the value of their land and their cultures, protagonists for change and their continent’s future.
The project’s new phase will be officially launched in Milan on February 17, during the Slow Food for Africa event, which will be attended by Carlo Petrini (President of Slow Food), José Graziano da Silva (Director-General of the FAO), Cècile Kyenge (Italy’s Minister for Integration), five African representatives (John Kariuki and Eunice Njoroge from Kenya, Edie Mukiibi from Uganda, Bineta Diallo from Senegal and Mariam Ouattara from Côte d’Ivoire) and 450 supporters and friends of the project (journalists, entrepreneurs, actors, filmmakers and many Slow Food convivium leaders and members).
The event can be watched live in streaming from 6 to 8 pm CET on Monday February 17 (www.slowfood.com and www.slowfoodfoundation.org). Afterwards you’ll be able to watch the video on the Slow Food and Slow Food Foundation websites or Slow Food International’s YouTube channel.