Last week, thirteen national coordinators of the A Thousand Gardens in Africa project came together for their first training session, held at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy and marking the launch of the active stage of the project.
Over the week they worked together to define the project guidelines, analyzing the needs of food gardens in schools and communities in countries across the continent _ from Moroccan oases to tropical forests in Uganda or the arid lands of Mali. Themes discussed included seed production, water management, promoting traditional food gardens, organic insect and weed control methods and educational activities to hold in the gardens.
Coordinators returned to their respective countries at the end of the week to start work with Slow Food convivia, Terra Madre food communities and other local partnering organizations and NGOs to get the gardens underway. They will come together again in a number of further meetings to be held over the next year, each one to be held in a different African country, to monitor progress and involve as many communities as possible.
In the meantime, the Slow Food network has got to work around the world to help build support for the project.
To date, the most significant commitment has been made by Slow Food Italy, who will finance 500 gardens thanks to the involvement of more than 300 convivia. The Italian convivia are committed to the principles of community food gardens, having created a network of 300 school gardens in the _Orti in Condotta_ project since 2004, and are enthusiastic to see similar projects succeed elsewhere around the world.
Donations are also arriving from further a-field, such as the South Korean Hansalim cooperative – that represents around 2,000 producers and more than 200,000 consumers and has worked for two decades to safeguard traditional rural agriculture _ who is supporting the development of 21 gardens.
Individual convivia are getting behind the project too – 36 Slow Food convivia have already raised funds for the creation of one or more garden _ and generous personal donations and contributions are also being offered. These include exchanges, such as Italian Mattia Pantal who has just returned from visiting Mostafa Maataoui, mayor of Sidi Boumedhi in Moroccco, to collaborate on a community garden for this city. The two met during the 1,000 Gardens network meeting at Terra Madre last year, which lead to Mostafa visiting Mattia_s community garden project in Venice and now this return visit.
To view a full list of project supporters click here.
To make a donation, click here.
For further information on how to organize fundraising activities or other questions, write to [email protected]