The morning of 10th December started for Slow Food with an exciting message from Samantha Cristoforetti, as astronaut on the International Space station, wishing Planet Earth a happy Terra Madre Day!
Here in London, the day’s trading at Borough Market commenced with Paolo di Croce, the General Secretary of Slow Food International, opening the main gates of the market. This ceremonial act has only been performed once before, by HRH the Prince of Wales in February 2013 opening the newly refurbished Three Crown Square. SFL presented the market with an apple tree as a gesture of friendship, and spent Terra Madre Day at Borough talking to traders, shoppers and visitors, and participating in the annual “Evening of Cheese”.
The week before, Carlo Petrini came to London for the first of a series of events around the world to highlight the 10,000 Gardens in Africa programme. On 10th December, he visited some of the Slow Food London Approved traders at Borough Market, before the relaunch of the programme in the Borough Market Hall. We heard first-hand from three young African farmers how the project had changed their lives, and the lives of their communities.
Carlo recalled the start of the 1,000 Gardens project in 2010, with the then ambitious target of creating 1,000 sustainable, community owned gardens in countries beset by famine, the aftermath of civil war, and the effects of climate change.
This year the number of gardens has already exceeded 1,600 and the bar has been raised to 10,000 Gardens: when the target of 10,000 gardens is reached, it is expected 500,000 people will be involved in the cultivation of a more sustainable future.
In an inspirational address, Carlo emphasised that 10,000 Gardens is not a charity, but a way of giving Africans the opportunity to help themselves, and for the prosperous western world to make recompense for a history of slavery and colonialism, and the continuing landgrabbing, whereby extensive areas of Africa are owned by China, India and the USA.
Slow Food London has sponsored a garden in Uganda, and Slow Food England has sponsored another on behalf of all English groups. With these gardens will come the learning of new skills, rehabilitation from the terror of war, and a sense of security. We will be bringing you updates from our garden throughout the year.