The first international meeting and training session for Slow Food's A Thousand Gardens in Africa project began today, bringing together national coordinators from across the continent as they prepare to put the project into action. A key commitment for Slow Food International in 2011, the project aims to create food gardens with all of the African Terra Madre food communities, and is being supported by convivia and Slow Food groups around the world.
The meeting participants, who arrived in Italy over the weekend, include agriculture teachers, permaculture experts, agronomists and Slow Food project coordinators from 12 African countries - Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Over six days of workshops at the University of Gastronomic Sciences, they will discuss the agricultural and education guidelines of the project and how they can be applied to diverse situations across Africa.
Launched at Terra Madre 2010, A Thousand Gardens in Africa is focused on working with local communities to create good, clean and fair gardens that are concrete models of sustainable agriculture, sensitive to their environmental, social and cultural context and easily replicable. The gardens will be developed with schools and as community projects as well as with individual families and will provide an important source of healthy food and additional income for local communities.
The horticultural approach adopted by the project is closely tied to the principles of agroecology: local farming knowledge; the application of traditional and modern techniques adapted to different conditions; the correct management of natural resources (biodiversity, soil, water); and social justice. Unlike a conventional approach to agriculture, agroecology emphasizes the importance of biodiversity, correct soil and water management and the interaction between plants, animals and the soil.
For more information on the project: