Slow Food Youth Gardens promote nutrition and sustainability (Africa)

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva recently said the way to build opportunities for young Africans was by expanding Slow Food Foundation’s gardening project. He said this was part of a much-needed “paradigm shift” to place more importance on family farming, sustainable food and agriculture systems, and the transfer of traditional knowledge from one generation to the next. “Food gardens produce far more than simply food. They promote inclusion, teach sustainability, and offer a space where the youth of today can meet, learn, share and build social capital,” Graziano da Silva said.
He added that food gardening was an opportunity for a decent job and a dignified life.
The Slow Food Foundation is based in Italy. It previously outlined plans to help African youth plant ten-thousand food gardens.
So far, one thousand gardens have been planted in 38 countries under this project.
According to Graziano da Silva, the push to increase food gardening among youth in Africa was especially fitting for 2014.
He explained that the majority of the African population lived in rural areas and were younger than 25 years of age. An estimated 842 million chronically hungry people in the world live in Africa.
“For decades, poor farmers were seen as a problem to be solved. But where, and when, people and governments have been able to give them the support they need and have understood that family farmers are, in fact, part of the solution, we have seen promising results,” he said.
According to the FAO, promoting local food gardens would involve entire families and hand down traditional know-how as well as food cultures from one generation to the next.
“It can transform the youth of today, into tomorrow’s leaders, protagonists of local, national and international food security and sustainable development policy- and decision-making,” said Graziano da Silva. – FAO