How a Slow Food Garden in Africa is Planned, Created and Managed
Creating thousands 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.
This network can serve as an incubator for the future protagonists of a change based on the redemption of traditional foods and knowledge, within a social economy closely tied to the local area and the environment.
The Slow Food gardens are designed, created and managed by the African communities.
In Africa, every garden has its own contact person and every country has one or more coordinators, who oversee the project’s organization at a national and regional level.
The coordinators include many agronomists and a number of young people who have returned to their home countries after studying at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy and other schools and universities in the United States, France and elsewhere.
A team of people of different nationalities is also based at the Slow Food International office in Italy, working closely in contact with the African country coordinators.
There is a constant exchange of information, ideas and solutions between the local, national and international levels.
What makes a Slow Food garden different?
The local communities plant traditional products (vegetables, fruits, culinary and medicinal herbs), use sustainable techniques, involve young people and draw on the knowledge of the elderly. Around a third of the gardens are in schools, serving as open-air classrooms with an important educational function and often supplying fresh vegetables for school meals. The other gardens are run by communities, and the produce is used primarily to improve the nutritional value of the community members’ everyday diet, while any surplus is sold to generate supplementary income.
One precondition is essential to starting a garden: the involvement of the local community. The garden will be successful only if the abilities of every member of the community are valued and put to good use. Before starting preparatory works on the garden, it is therefore necessary to bring together all the people who can help and decide together what tools are needed, how tasks will be divided, and so on. It is important to unite the knowledge of the elderly, the skills of the women, the energy and creativity of young people and the expertise of cooks and professionals like agronomists and veterinarians. Once a team has been put together, it is necessary to observe the land to work out the best place to position the garden and what should be cultivated. Decisions will be made based on climate, exposure, the type of soil and the availability of water.
What seeds are used? >>
What varieties are grown? >>
How is the soil managed? >>
How is water managed? >>
How are the crops protected? >>
What is the garden’s produce used for? >>
How to provide taste education >>