Africa's first Earth Market will open on Saturday November 2 in Maputo. Running from 10 am to 4 pm in Feima, Jardim do Parque dos Continuadores, Av. Martires da Machava, the market has been organized by the Bologna-based non-governmental organization GVC and the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity.
This is not just any market: The Earth Market model was created in 2005 by Slow Food and has been replicated in various cities around the world, from Austria to Israel to India to the United States. Earth Markets are places where local biodiversity and food culture can be preserved, seasonal foods can be promoted and small-scale food producers and consumers can be brought into direct contact.
"The Earth Market represents an innovative activity for the country, in keeping with GVC's mission and work in Africa to promote environmental sustainability, including in countries like Burundi and Burkina Faso," said GVC's president, Patrizia Santillo. "Encouraging small-scale producers by supporting quality production and market access means not just increasing their income, but helping the whole community and improving the lives of everyone, linking development with food sovereignty and respect for the environment."
"The opening of the first Earth Market in Africa is an extraordinary result, and the fruit of Slow Food's experiences and work in 25 African countries," added Piero Sardo, the president of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity. "It represents the attainment of an objective that can be hard to reach even in the global north. The rules that producers must observe regarding product quality, seasonality, distances and social justice are very stringent. But the market is also a sign of the vitality and richness of traditional food production in this area."
The Maputo Earth Market will bring small-scale growers and producers from the surrounding province to the Parque dos Continuadores once a month. Only "good, clean and fair" products will be on sale: They must be local, seasonal and sold at prices that are fair for sellers and buyers. Shoppers will be able to find vegetables, fruit, fresh fish, rice, juices, jams and badjias, typical Mozambican bean fritters. To encourage the exchange of good practices, a mission to the Bologna Earth Market in Italy has been planned for the coordinator of the Maputo Earth Market.
The Maputo Earth Market is the result of a collaboration between the non-governmental organization GVC and Slow Food, as part of a wider project promoting sustainable agriculture funded by the Emilia-Romagna Regional Authority and run by GVC with the support of UNAC, the national union of Mozambican farmers; the non-governmental organization ESSOR and the Convivium Muteko-Waho association.