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Networking and Connections: A Journey Through Slow Food Gardens

At the intersection of culture, community, and agriculture lies a powerful movement that transcends borders and brings people together. Recently, we had the honor of hosting Paulette Henry from Black Rootz, a multigenerational black-led growing project based in the UK. Paulette’s visit was a bridge connecting continents, as she came to learn more about our work with Slow Food Kenya. Together, we explored the vibrant world of local indigenous food, exchanged ideas, and celebrated the rich heritage that sustains us all.

Exploring the Gardens

Our journey began , where we introduced Paulette to some of our remarkable community gardens. Here are the three gardens she visited:

  1. New Era School Garden: Nestled amidst the bustling streets, this school garden is a green oasis where pupils and teachers learn about agroecology. School gardens provide experiential, hands-on learning opportunities where pupils actively engage in the learning process, making concepts more tangible and memorable. Here, the soil yields not only crops but also curiosity and wonder.
  2. Neema Community Garden: Neema, which means “grace” in Kiswahili, is a place where seeds of hope are sown. Community members come together to cultivate their cultural food traditions. The garden is a testament to resilience and unity. The garden serves as a hub for cultural exchange, education, and community building as it brings together people from diverse backgrounds, fostering connections and understanding. By cultivating traditional crops and preserving local knowledge, Neema Community Garden contributes to food sovereignty and resilience.
  3. Kaki Community Garden: Kaki Community Garden is a remarkable initiative located in Kanyekini location, Kirinyaga county, Central province, Kenya. The garden embraces agroecology—an approach that harmonizes farming with nature, chemical-free cultivation methods are used, promoting soil health and minimizing environmental impact. Kaki Community Garden showcases a variety of nutritious and hardy crops, including indigenous vegetables, medicinal plants, and fruit trees. The dedication of Kaki community garden members is a beacon of hope for food sovereignty.

Cultivating Agroecology and Empowerment

As we walked through the rows of vibrant greens, we discussed agroecology—the harmonious relationship between humans, plants, and the environment. Paulette shared stories of Black Rootz’s work, emphasizing the importance of self-sufficiency and cultural pride. We explored ways to support local farmers, preserve traditional knowledge, and empower communities.

A Global Slow Food Family

Our conversation extended beyond borders. We connected with regional leaders of Slow Food in central Kenya, sharing experiences and insights. Together, we reaffirmed our commitment to good, clean, and fair food for all. Slow Food’s principles resonated with Black Rootz’s mission, reinforcing the idea that food is more than sustenance—it’s a bridge that unites us.

As Paulette plans to return to the UK, she carries with her the flavors, stories, and spirit of Kenya. Our gardens may be miles apart, but our hearts beat in harmony. Through collaboration, education, and shared passion, we continue to sow the seeds of change. Together, we celebrate the beauty of diversity and the power of food to nourish both body and soul.

We are grateful for this opportunity to connect and collaborate with our global Slow Food family.