Springing into Africa

Spring is here!

In my native Colorado, that tends to mean that forest fire season has officially started and we’d better enjoy our two weeks of sort-of green grass because it’s gonna be brown and dry in a few days. HOWEVER, in most of the world, this is the time of renewal and growth. It’s also the time when farmer’s markets start up and local food becomes available again. All those tasty fruits and vegetables we haven’t tasted all winter are starting to stir underground and burst forth in all their bounty.

How appropriate, then, that Slow Food USA has just announced that it is taking part in a wonderful campaign to help bring these very bounties to those who need them most.

Photo courtesy of Slow Food USA

One Thousand Gardens in Africa is a campaign started by Slow Food International, a group dedicated to preserving food cultures, unique species, and fighting hunger all in the same go. The point of the campaign, obviously, is to build one thousand gardens in Africa–gardens that will help people feed themselves and gain their own independence from foreign food producers. A recent article from Slow Food USA explains:

“Historically, in the U.S., we’ve fought global hunger by growing cheap grain and dumping it on foreign markets. In the end, we’ve just displaced farmers in developing countries, and created more poverty and hunger. We need solutions that give people the resources they need to feed themselves. We are helping to build One Thousand Gardens in Africa that prove it’s possible.”

By giving people the ability to feed themselves, we give them something far more important than just a good meal. We give them the ability to create a better life for themselves, a life of dignity, and the ability to maintain their traditional lifestyles.

“Improving farmer autonomy makes certain that knowledge is passed down for future seasons, and helps farmers grow food for their communities rather than for export at the expense of their own nourishment. Through a more sustainable use of soil and water, and a safeguarding of traditional recipes, villages are also gaining a sense of pride for the natural resources that they share and that they want to protect by not using harmful chemicals.” ~Josh Viertel, president of Slow Food USA.

What’s not to love about a campaign to fight hunger, help people in third-world countries, improve the environment, preserve traditional knowledge and lifestyles, and protect and promote food biodiversity at the same time?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Photo courtesy of Slow Food USA

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