Abease is a historic town in the district of Pru, in Ghana. Here, the Abease Bono tribe has created a school garden where 325 students between the ages of 9 and 17 grow peanuts, beans, soy, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and aleefu, a local leafy vegetable. Part of the garden’s harvest is sold to the cooks who prepare the school meals. The Afmana garden, meanwhile, is in the municipality of Ouangolo, a large city in the arid Savanes region in the far north of Côte d’Ivoire. It is run by 20 women, and most of the harvest is consumed by the families. A small share is sold at the market, and a portion of the resulting income is used to cover the garden’s maintenance costs.
In Tanzania, the Polish missionaries of Mkiwa Convent have created a garden which plays an important role in improving the nutrition of the children who attend the convent’s nursery school. The garden is planted with varieties of amaranth, Ethiopian mustard, onions, manioc, pumpkins, papaya, blackberries, guava, moringa, aloe vera, neem and African calendula. The garden is not only a source of food, but also the venue for training sessions on organic agriculture and seed storage and sharing. Further south, in Zambia, the garden of the Naluyanda family is run by a 29-year-old widow, and enables her to support six members of her family.
These are just some of the stories from the 10,000 Gardens project and the network that Slow Food is creating across Africa. Thanks to a network of people and communities who consciously choose what to grow and eat every day and who are committed to recovering traditional crops and knowledge that would otherwise disappear, the gardens are becoming an essential voice in favor of sustainability and food sovereignty.
This project could not exist without the support of hundreds of convivia and other supporters connected to the Slow Food world: individuals, businesses and organizations who have believed in the project since it was started in 2010, when there were just a few dozen gardens, and have continued to believe in us and support the project as the number of gardens, countries, participants and partners has grown.
As of this year, Eataly has also joined the group of supporters. Thanks to its contribution, 330 gardens will be created, in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia and many other countries.
“Creating 10,000 gardens in the schools and villages of Africa means not just guaranteeing fresh, healthy food to the communities, but also training a network of leaders, conscious of the importance of their land, who can become the protagonists of this continent’s future,” said Carlo Petrini. “Eataly’s support, which will continue for the next two years, will be of great significance in reaching this important objective and will give our coordinators in the various countries the chance to have even more say in the creation of an African agricultural model that serve as an example for future generations.”
“Carlin has explained to me that the best way to tackle the issue of food scarcity in some nations is to help their populations to discover their own agricultural biodiversity, encouraging the formation of an indigenous leadership that can take responsibility for the creation of a local agriculture, for the local people,” said Oscar Farinetti. He continued: “I can see that the creation of food gardens in Africa is the fastest way towards achieving this solution. So we set ourselves the objective of funding 1,000 gardens over three years. We have completed our commitment for the first year and now we are working to complete the project in the next two years. Eataly is not dependent on public contributions, but the profit generated by its trading. A good share of this profit is dedicated to public service activities, and the rest to business development. For us at the moment, the gardens in Africa represent the most relevant part of the activity aimed at public service.”