Slow Food for Africa's Thousand Gardens Project Starts Again

The initiative by Slow Food for Africa in Milan brings fresh produce to underprivileged areas of Africa

One of Slow Food Milan's thousand gardens in Africa in action.

Slow Food, the international organization trying to counteract the unhealthy effects of fast and convenient foods with fresh and organic ingredients and cuisine, is spreading their movement to Africa. The Thousand Gardens project, headed by Slow Food for Africa in Milan, already reached its goal of creating one thousand produce gardens in schools and villages, and now it’s starting up again with a new goal: to create ten thousand gardens throughout the continent of Africa to revolutionize the healthy food culture and help fight hunger in underdeveloped and/or impoverished countries.

So far, there are 941 gardens throughout 25 countries in Africa in addition to the thousand gardens that were already planted during the initial project in 2010. Aknin said that the project is designed to both fight hunger and prevent native Africans from living unhealthy lifestyles from imported and processed foods that their diets are not used to.

“We wanted to extend the project to ten thousand, because we see it as a good way of educating people about sustainable agriculture,” said Sharon Aknin, a representative from Slow Food for Africa in Milan. “Once people realize that eating their freshly produced fruits and vegetables makes a difference in taste, they will abandon processed or imported goods and appreciate more their own local foods.”

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The reaction has been extremely positive from the countries who have participated. Mariam Ouattarà a representative from the Ivory Coast chapter of Slow Food International said that although they have worked on sustainable agriculture there before, Slow Food has revolutionized the way the Ivory Coast farms, adding family farming and multi-crop farms to the agricultural economy.