Slow Food in Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso is characterized by a rich cultural diversity, with over 60 different ethnic groups and languages. Half of this landlocked West African country has an arid, Sahelian climate. Desertification and drought are some of its most serious problems, but there are many initiatives working towards integrated local development. As far back as 1987, President Thomas Sankara proposed reforming agriculture through the application of agroecological techniques in order to guarantee food sovereignty and the country’s independence. “Let’s produce in Africa, manufacture in Africa, and consume in Africa,” he famously said. “Let’s produce what we need and consume what we produce instead of importing goods.” The Slow Food network has had a presence here since 2004. Many agroecological school and community food gardens have been developed in different regions. The gardens have made it possible to develop the network and to start the important tasks of mapping traditional foods and dishes, identifying Presidia and supporting the food communities in the promotion of their unique, high-quality products. The first West African Terra Madre gathering was organized in Ouagadougou in February 2017, allowing the local network to join together and share their experiences with traditional foods, gastronomy and knowledge. This laid the foundations for the creation of an even stronger network, which now includes communities, associations and local authorities. Currently the network is focusing on involving cooks and chefs and identifying restaurants serving local food that is good, clean and fair.