A Thousand Gardens in Africa: The Story So Far

In October 2010, Slow Food launched a new project in Africa…

  • The idea: to create food gardens in schools, cities and villages across the continent
  • The reason: to give value back to the work done by small-scale farmers; enable communities to chose what they cultivate, eat and market; and to promote sustainable agriculture that conserves biodiversity, promotes local culture, preserves knowledge and supports local economies.
  • The target: 1000 gardens in 25 African countries

Today, we have reached our target! Here are some of the key milestones:

October 2010: The project is officially launched

At Terra Madre 2010, we announced our ambitious dream to create vegetable gardens in every Terra Madre community in Africa.


November 2010 – February 2011: The idea gains momentum

Across the continent, Slow Food convivia and Terra Madre communities jump into action, making contact with schools, communities and families that would like to participate in the project.


March 2011: Local leaders from across the continent meet

Thirteen national coordinators come together at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy to develop and discuss the project handbook and define the next phases of the project.


April 2011: The first garden officially opens

In Msindo, a tiny village in southern Tanzania, not far from the Mozambican border, over 200 people come together for the inauguration of the project’s first garden. Many walk for hours to be there. The opening of the garden in Tanzania is closely followed by the second garden, in Madagascar.


June 2011: The first regional seminar is held in Kenya

65 participants take part in a three-day meeting, bringing together the project coordinators from Africa’s Anglophone countries. Shortly after the event, the first gardens in Kenya and Mauritania are launched.


August 2011 – September 2012: Gardens are created across Africa

Over the following months, gardens are launched in Western Cape, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), and in Uganda. In September 2011, gardens open in Ethiopia and Somalia, followed by Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Next up are Cameroon, D.R. Congo and Morocco
in February 2012; and Egypt and Tunisia
in September 2012.


March – April 2012: Carlo Petrini visits Africa

In Spring 2012, Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini travels to Kenya and Uganda where he visits many local outposts of the Slow Food and Terra Madre network, including food gardens, Presidia, food communities and some of East Africa’s many active convivia.

On the move…

October 2012: The project goes on display at Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre

As part of the African delegation to Slow Food’s biennial event, 108 coordinators from the project arrive in Turin and a 400m2 living model garden is set up in the center of the event.  Products such as vegetables and herbs are displayed, with coordinators taking turns to talk about the project and take visitors around the African garden.


February 2013: Restaurant opens in Burkino Faso

Moussa Ouedraogo opens the restaurant Kilomètre Zero in Napoko educational garden, Burkina Faso, serving traditional dishes using produce grown in the garden.


March 2013: Hope in Mauritania refugee camp

Inside the Mbera refugee camp in southeast Mauritania, where thousands of refugees are fleeing from war-torn Mali, Slow Food representatives plant a garden and inspire the creation of 50 more. In these humble plots, the bright colors pumpkins, melons, chilies, peppers, beets and eggplants stand out against the stark white of the UN tents and provide nourishment and hope to those who tend to them.


17 February 2014: Slow Food for Africa event in Milan

The next phase of the project is launched, to create 10,000 gardens in Africa. Thank you to everyone for your support so far, we hope you’ll join us on the next part of this journey! 

Find out more about the project at www.slowfoodfoundation.com

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