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Getting ready for the implementation of the project '1000 gardens in Africa'

by Ibrahima SECK

From 7 to 12 March 2011, I participated with twelve other coordinators a training seminar in Turin (Pollenzo University of Gastronomic Sciences) in the framework of the project "A Thousand Gardens in Africa." The seminar, which marks the beginning of the operational phase, aimed at defining guidelines for the project coordinators and prepare for effective implementation.

Between exchanges, analyses and reflections on the demands of school and community gardens, a lot of practical topics were approached, like the production of seed, water management, development of traditional vegetable crops, natural methods to protect the production of the gardens from insects and weeds and to organise educational activities in the gardens.

In each of our countries, we are called to work with the Slow Food conviviums, the Terra Madre food communities, but also with other partners such as associations and NGOs. A convivium is a group of persons, an association. This is the name used by Slow Food to describe its associations in countries around the world.

In Senegal, there are currently a total of 27 conviviums working to popularize the approach of Slow Food by organising culinary activities, like the Terra Madre days and other forms of meetings for the exchange of traditional values and sustainable food. In Senegal the proposal adopted was to work with school gardens in urban zones and with community gardens in rural areas.

The conviviums interested will convene a meeting scheduled at the Socio-Cultural Centre Hann Bel-Air in early April and another one in late April, but this time with the representative of the Africa Project (Velia Lucidi).

Early April:

  • Sharing the results of the seminar
  • Identification and localisation of areas
  • Development of the programme for site visits.

Late April:

  • Meeting with the representative of Slow Food
  • Progress report.

During this seminar in Turin - participants from Senegal, Uganda and Kenya - also had the privilege of meeting the Foundation4Africa, Senegal, the Campagnia di San Paolo and other partners, who support Slow Food. We explained our activities in our respective countries. The communication unit of Slow Food also granted us an interview with questions related to the seminar, but also our relationship with Slow Food.

During this meeting the presence of Mundus maris was marked by a visit to the website. I also answered some questions.

During the day-long meeting with Mr. Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food, I recalled that this is a sequel, if not the result of my  participation in the TERRA MADRE 2010 event, which had been supported by Mundus maris and sponsored by the CTA.

As usual in his speeches, Mr. Petrini further commended on Africa and its youth; he also praised the commitment of these organizations that support the youth.

This training meeting of Slow Food can be classified a major step, because thanks to Mundus maris and the CTA, Senegal is among the countries benefiting from the project "A thousand gardens in Africa." The gardens will help urban and rural areas to improve community life, achieve a more balanced diet, while reducing the scarcity of fresh produce. In schools, gardens can promote the pupils' familiarity with plants and enable them to better understand the life cycle of these plants. The school garden is also a step towards a school canteen.