From June 14-17, Nairobi hosts the Slow Food International Council, the organization’s strategic guiding body. The assembly represents the main forum for dialogue between local Slow Food representatives and will outline the key strategies for Slow Food international for the next year.
Together with the Slow Food Executive Committee, which is the highest institutional governing body, the Council reflects the highly international nature of the organization, with 50 Slow Food activists coming from 40 countries, representing all five continents. The Council is coming together for the first time since its reorganization during the Slow Food International Congress in Chengdu, China, in September 2017.
Since its founding by President Carlo Petrini in 1989, Slow Food has grown into a global movement involving millions of people in over 160 countries, working to ensure that everyone has access to good, clean and fair food.
After the 7th Slow Food International Congress in Chengdu, Slow Food radically renewed its structure to make the organization more open and inclusive, trying out new forms of involvement and participation. The delegates approved the Declaration of Chengdu, which confirms the need to fight for good, clean and fair food until it is guaranteed for every person on this planet. More specifically, Slow Food committed to working on six different motions, one of which is dedicated to Africa: The Africa of Slow Food and Terra Madre.
Kenya was chosen as the host country for the Slow Food International Council meeting because of the intensified work that Slow Food has done in Kenya and on the African continent.
The importance of Africa in Slow Food’s strategic vision is reflected in the composition of the organization’s leadership, starting from its vice president, Edie Mukiibi. Edie is an agronomist who lives and works in Uganda, where he has created agroecological gardens, Slow Food Presidia, Earth Markets, and a huge network of food communities together with a group of passionate youth.
John Kariuki Mwangi is the vice president of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, coordinator of the Slow Food network and projects in Kenya, and a councilor for Slow Food, representing East, Central, and Southern Africa. A graduate of the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, John has overseen the creation of more than 300 food gardens and the development of the Slow Food Youth Network in his country.
Patigidsom Jean-Marie Koalga is the coordinator of the Slow Food committee in Burkina Faso and the Bagaré Convivum leader. Jean-Marie is a community educator and an activist in the fields of agroecology and sustainable development. In 2013 he became involved with the Slow Food Gardens in Africa project and has since devoted himself to the diffusion of Slow Food values, consumer education, training the next generation, and promoting local biodiversity in his home country.
Caroline Stephanie McCann is the International Councillor for Southern Africa. Founder of Braeside Butchery in Johannesburg, South Africa, aiming to provide good, clean and fair meat by supporting suppliers with high standards of free range and grass-fed animals. She is the main organizer of Slow Meat South Africa, and has been Slow Food’s International Councilor for Southern Africa since 2016.
Nicolas Mukumo Mushumbi is the International Councilor for the Indigenous Network. A member of the Bambuti people of the Kivu forest in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Nicolas is the leader of the Slow Food Goma Karisimbi Convivum and an active member of the Ark of Taste and the Gardens in Africa projects. He was part of the Steering Committee that organized Terra Madre Great Lakes event, and is committed to defending the rights of indigenous peoples in DRC, promoting the sustainable use of resources, opposing land grabbing, and using food as a way to build peace among communities.
The Councilors will also visit two different Slow Food Gardens, in Gikindu and Ruchu. Launched in 2010, the Slow Food Gardens in Africa project has now created more than 3,000 food gardens in schools and villages and on the outskirts of cities in 35 African countries. The gardens are managed sustainably, using composting techniques, efficient water use, local plant varieties, and natural pest treatments.