Posts Tagged ‘1000 Gardens in Africa’

Jul12

A Thousand Gardens continues to grow

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By Grant Potter

Slow Food International continues to make progress on its ambitious pledge to create 1,000 vegetable gardens in every African community participating in its Terra Madre network. The aptly named “A Thousand Gardens in Africa” is now in its most active stage as coordinators fundraise for future gardens, inaugurate new gardens, and form an educational network between existing gardens.

Highlighted countries are participating in Slow Food International’s 1,000 Gardens Project (Photo Credit: Slow Food International)

One of the most important elements of the project is fundraising. Slow Food estimates that all the inputs required to make a successful garden, including research, materials, training, and networking, cost approximately US$1,290.  According to Slow Food, they have raised enough to finance over 141 gardens.  They have also partnered with many restaurants throughout Italy where proceeds from special fundraising nights will go to the gardens.

Over the last few months Slow Food has been actively opening up new gardens.  The project saw the creation of its first gardens in Tanzania at a primary school in Dar Es Salaam, as well as Msindo, a tiny village in the southern part of the country.  There are 13 gardens in Uganda, 11 gardens in Kenya, two gardens in Tanzania, and one garden in Cote D’Ivoire. Slow Food tracks their progress on an interactive map, updated as new gardens are launched.

Slow Food is also making sure that these African gardens are linked to one another, allowing growers to share information and experiences with one another.

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Mar29

What Works: Educating the Farmers of Tomorrow

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By Mara Schechter

Roughly 70 percent of Africans are under the age of 30. Unfortunately, young people in Africa are choosing not to be farmers. Farming is labor intensive and many small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa struggle to make a living. And often young people look down on farming or view it as a punishment, rather than something they choose to do. But across the continent, many innovative projects are working to reverse this trend by teaching younger generations how they can improve their livelihoods, preserve their culture, and repair damage to the environment through farming.

DISC-Developing-Innovations-In-School-Cultivation-Uganad-CARE-International-Pencils-For-Kids-Eliminate-Poverty-Now-ICRISAT

DISC is helping students at 31 schools grow local crops in school gardens. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

In Uganda, for example, Edward Mukiibi and Roger Sserunjogi began Developing Innovations in School Cultivation (DISC) to reignite a taste for traditional African vegetables among school children. Now, partly funded by Slow Food International and a participant in the 1,000 Gardens in Africa program, DISC is helping students at 31 schools grow local crops in school gardens.

At DISC schools, students also learn how to cook traditional foods with primarily indigenous crops, such as amaranth, African eggplant, and traditional varieties of maize. Students also learn how to dry seeds to store them for later seasons. Through the program, students’ eating habits and ideas about farming change as they come to appreciate indigenous vegetables and the sense of identity and security they gain from the practical skills they learn. And students bring this change of attitude back home and into their communities, starting community gardens and introducing their families to local foods and new farming techniques.

In Rwanda, the organization CARE International’s Farmers of the Future Initiative (FOFI) funded 27 pilot schools to start school gardens. After one year, the pilot schools used half of the profits from their gardens to reinvest in their agriculture programs, while putting the other half towards helping other  schools to start their own gardens. By the end of the three-year project, 28 satellite schools had started their own gardens. (more…)