Across Africa, small producers and vulnerable communities were deeply impacted by the Covid-19 lockdowns. Hunger and malnutrition have risen due to the loss of jobs, increase in the prices of imported foods, and farmers’ inability to transport local produce to markets.
Slow Food is an international grassroots organization active in over 160 countries. Its network works to preserve local food diversity, cultures and traditions, and ensure that everyone has access to nutritious food while centering the work of women, youth, and the Indigenous guardians of invaluable biodiversity. Its broader goal is to galvanize global support for healthy, diversified, and decentralized food systems and agroecological enterprises.
Located in Kenya, within the Sub-Saharan Afrotropic realm, this project will support a Slow Food Earth Market that links farmers directly with communities that lack access to food and create shorter, stronger food value chains. By raising awareness about the importance of culturally appropriate, agroecological produced, and fairly priced foods, the project will boost local economies and yield improvement in community health and livelihoods. It seeks to reinforce and expand these ongoing actions, transferring their successful experiences to communities in the nearby Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.
This network works to preserve local food diversity, cultures and traditions, and ensure that everyone has access to nutritious food while centering the work of women, youth and the Indigenous guardians of invaluable biodiversity. Its broader goal is to galvanize global support for healthy, diversified, and decentralized food systems and agroecological enterprises.
Working to increase the ability of East African communities, this Slow Food branch will produce healthy food through agroecological farming across different ecological zones -- from the drylands of Ethiopia to the highlands of Tanzania -- building market access for small-scale farmers by facilitating direct contact between producers and consumers. The project will pilot a delivery system to collect food from producers and distribute to strategic points to reach vulnerable groups, allowing them to access high-quality local food at subsidized rates.
The transition to an ecological food system has been guided by the Slow Food Academy in Africa, which has held two courses for local producers and farmers. Through field visits and educational events, the Academy has trained 20 participants in Central Africa in agroecological practices. The participants also held online meetings to share how they have been able to use this knowledge and skills to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis.
Slow Food is also expanding its network of urban food gardens in schools and communities around East Africa, organizing more farmers markets to spur the development of agroecological food systems. Increased awareness of agroecology and a revival of local knowledge will improve food security, sovereignty, conservation, and nutrition in the region. The traditional knowledge and practices of Africa’s small-scale farming communities will be an important part of any solution to world hunger.