State of the World 2011

Slow Food has contributed to the Worldwatch Institute’s report, State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, proposing the safeguarding of local food biodiversity as a key to developing a sustainable economy and improving the quality of life in local communities in Africa.

Through a look at Slow Food’s projects around the world, such as the Presidia (projects to safeguard at-risk traditional products), the contributing article highlights the link between biodiversity and environmental protection and emphasizes the importance of protecting small-scale artisan fishing, indigenous breeds and local plant varieties, and seeds as community assets. Author Serena Milano underlines the value of promoting diversity in the field, educating young people on eating locally, and promoting production for family and local consumption rather than monoculture for export.

In collating the report, the Worldwatch Institute has drawn from the world’s leading agricultural experts and from the hundreds of innovations that are already working on the ground, including Slow Food, to outline 20 proven, environmentally sustainable prescriptions for alleviating hunger and poverty.

The report shows that agriculture innovation is key to reducing poverty and stabilizing climate. “At a time when 925 million people worldwide are hungry and investments in agricultural development are at historic lows, governments, policymakers, nongovernmental organizations, and the donor community need to commit to longstanding support for the world’s farmers,” says the Worldwatch Institute. “In Africa, farmers make up 80 percent of the population and hold the key to unlocking the continent’s untapped agricultural potential to feed the future.”

“In 2010, governments, foundations, and individuals provided less than $4 billion dollars to support agricultural projects in Africa. Although pledges for agricultural development are expected to grow in 2011, much of this money has yet to be raised. With a large share of the human family still chronically hungry nearly a half-century after the Green Revolution, it is clear that much of the existing funding is not being targeted effectively. Guidance is needed to direct investments toward projects that are already working and that could be replicated or scaled up in regions around the world.”

The report was launched in January in Washington, where Edward Mukiibi from Slow Food Mukumo in Uganda presented one of Slow Food’s projects, “A Thousand Gardens in Africa”, a goal to create food gardens in every Terra Madre food commuity in the continent. Mukiibi met with American First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House on the occasion of the launch, and told her about the project and the work being done to educate communities about sustainable agriculture and cultivate food sovereignty for tomorrow.

Read more about Edward Mukiibi’s visit to the White House.

The Worldwatch Institute is an independent research organization. Its State of the World report is published annually in more than 20 languages.

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