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10,000 Gardens in Africa: rediscovering the community supported agriculture

Posted 2 years ago in SFYN Blogs

Community agriculture is one of the most powerful food systems in Africa. Nonetheless, monoculture and land grabbing endanger this model of food production. The Slow Food Gardens in Africa project is a way to rediscover community agriculture and to aggregate people who remain in contact with the land.

Written by Paola de Luca

The conference on the 10,000 gardens project in Africa, held by the speakers David Dotta (Slow Food International), John Kariuki (Slow Food Kenya) and Valentina Wonder (Slow Food International) during Terra Madre Giovani - We Feed the Planet, has set as its goal the illustration of the project in order to be able to replicate elsewhere and increase the scope and impact.

Thanks to the fusion of social issues and sustainable agriculture, the 10,000 gardens in Africa are an innovative project. The gardens are small, do not require large spaces and are placed and revised in a creative way at interesting locations, often the spaces in which the gardens are placed are not suitable (e.g. roofs).

The gardens are primarily created by a community, which means that every member of the community is valued for his skills that are put into service of others. In the gardens in fact come together several generations, lots of social groups, in order to capitalize on the energy of young people guided by the experience of older people and the skills of technicians.

The gardens are also the result of a period of research and observation. First the soil is studied and research will show which plant varieties are most suitable for the soil and do not need fertilizers. In this way the gardens become an area for biodiversity and sustainability.

The gardens are also a simple way to have healthy and nutritious foods. Even in remote villages and at the poorest schools, the Slow Food gardens are both places of games, parties and entertainment, but also serve as outdoor classrooms. The gardens are in fact a great opportunity to teach the youth about young and old plant varieties, a healthy diet based on authentic foods and teach and promote the profession of farmer. The gardens are the example for a radical renewal of the agricultural mentality against intensive agriculture, GMOs and much more. It favors a policy on sustainability. For the creation of 10,000 gardens it is also important to create a network of African leaders for the local coordinators to work together and enlarge the network of African technicians.

“Creating 10,000 good, clean and fair food gardens in African schools and communities means not only raising awareness among young generations about the importance of food biodiversity and access to healthy, fresh food, but also training a network of leaders aware of the value of their land and their culture who can serve as protagonists for change and the continent’s future.” Fondazione Slow Food