Edie Mukiibi (vice president Slow Food, president Slow Food Uganda)
Slow Food Nederland
Edie Mukibii talks about Slow Food’s initiative to create 10,000 good, clean and fair food gardens in African schools and villages. The Slow Food gardens are designed, created and run by the African communities. This project was started bij Slow Food about 10 years ago. In the first two years already 1000 gardens were started. They are based on traditional knowledge and seeds. Slow Food focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa, which has very good soils, Crops ripen in a cycle of 65 days. It is an agro-forestry system; mixed crops, as was the traditional system. They decided to start in schools
We also invest, e.g. in tools, but only when a garden starts. Water is a challenge; we usually try rain catchment, e.g. from the roof of the shed and from people’s houses, and save it in a tank. Typical African plants only need water when they are growing. ‘Exotic’ crops (e.g. European plants like cabbage and potatoes) cost more and need more water all the time. People have to contribute to community gardens, e.g. seeds, manure.
In the School gardens the teaching is combined with the garden: students harvest, and do the cooking. They have put their maths into practice when laying out the garden and the plots, and when building a fence against the goats, etc. And they practice bookkeeping when they sell products at the annual festival and use the money to buy tools. They harvest seeds after the holidays when the plants have not been tended for a while. Out of 500 students 300 participate, and 100 go on to start a garden in their communities.
Slow Food decides on special challenges per year. Last year it was seeds (old varieties). Slow food is now setting up indigenous seed banks. This year it is access to water. Slow Food organises a training for all the teachers, and regional trainings also for class leaders. In he villages they use small community radios to listen tot he SF broadcasts. De Nederlandse Slow Food Community ‘10.000 tuinen in Afrika’ spant zich in om de Afrikaanse tuinen te steunen. Daartoe worden workshops en bijeenkomsten georganiseerd, en donateurs geworven, zie https://slowfood.nl/wij-doen/slow-food-tuinen/