Funding Announced for Projects Supported by Cittaslow USA

Cittaslow USA announced today that its Climate Change Initiative in Ethiopia received a grant of $45,000 from the Mental Insight Foundation, a private family foundation based in Sonoma, California. The funding will allow continuation of the pilot project using the "waterboxx," a simple box that uses condensation from the air to establish deep roots for planting food, forests, and pollinator attracting plants. The waterboxx was designed by Pieter Hoff, Dutch scientist and farmer. The waterboxx is being used in countries around the world to help local people reforest and plant in areas of drought and those affected by mining and mountaintop removal.

Cittaslow USA has been a major partner in the creation of the project, which started as a result of Cittaslow meetings with Ethiopian honey farmers at Slow Food's Terra Madre in 2010. Cittaslow International hosted waterboxx inventor Pieter Hoff at its Annual Meeting in Poland in 2011. Pilot projects using the waterboxx in Ethiopia have taken place over the past two years. Cittaslow provided technical expertise to Ethiopian honey farmers at the recent Terra Madre event in Torino.

The current grant will help continue the pilot project of waterboxx plantings and the work of "Pollinator Pals" through the connection between children in elementary schools in Wukro, Ethiopia and inSonoma, California started with the participation of Cittaslow USA,Cittaslow Sonoma Valley, and Slow Food International. Children will become the teachers of their parents in this project that affects climate change, and encourages the success of pollinator plants that will help honey farmers of this region to preserve bees and develop healthy hives for the production of an unusual local white honey.

Pictured below are Cittaslow USA Director Virginia Hubbell,Sonoma beekeeper Shelley Arrowsmith, and honey farmers of Ethiopia at Terra Madre, 2012.

A second grant by the Mental Insight Foundation was awarded for$15,000 to collaborative partnership projects that will be undertaken by three Cittaslow USA town chapters and their Slow Food chapter counterparts. The three towns include Sonoma Valley and Sebastopolin Sonoma County, California, and Fairfax, in Marin County,California. Each partnership will undertake a project together. These will include a Junior Cheesemaker program in Sonoma Valley; a biodiversity project to save the endangered Gravenstein apple in Sebastopol; and, a sustainability photo exhibition and town farm to table dinner in the park event in Fairfax. Children and youth will be a focus and thousands of citizens will be involved. This is the first timeSlow Food and Cittaslow chapters in the USA have partnered and been funded for advancing their work together.