Galway chef JP McMahon is backing a poverty-fighting campaign that puts nutritious vegetables on children’s plates in one of the world’s poorest countries.
The world-renowned chef is supporting Kitchen Gardens, a community based initiative run by aid agency Concern Worldwide tackling child malnutrition in Burundi, Central Africa.
The restaurateur, who owns Michelin star restaurant Aniar, as well as tapas bar Cava Bodega and Eat Gastropub, launched the new project for Concern with community gardeners on the grounds of the Westside Resource Centre.
The chef explained that the gardens encourage communities to grow their own vegetables in a country where poor nutrition has stunted the growth of 58 per cent (881,000) of children aged under five.
The Fáilte Ireland ambassador for Irish food also believes the Kitchen Gardens project should inspire everyone to grow their own nutritious and healthy food.
Speaking from the Westside community gardens, accompanied by his daughters Heather (8) and Martha (4), he said:
“Europe has taken so much out of Africa. It is our duty as Europeans and Irish people to give back.
“I think Kitchen Gardens is a genuine and excellent idea because it taps into that connection to growing food that a lot of us never have to think about at all.”
According to Mr McMahon, the project supports people in need in growing their own farms for the future, making them more self-sufficient and also strengthening their community.
“This project gives us a sense of fulfilment that we are actually helping people to produce their own food because aid can only do so much.”
He is urging people to support Kitchen Gardens on the crowdfunding website Generosity.com where the target is €20,000 to benefit 200 families or over 1,000 individuals.
The food writer has donated signed recipes that will be sent to anyone who donates €65 to the campaign.
Concern, who work with the Burundi government, provide the items needed to assemble the gardens – which takes about two days to build – and provides training to members of the community, who share their new skills and knowledge with others.
To find out more or to donate to the campaign visit https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/kitchen-gardens-in-burundi
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