Earth Defenders Captured by Steve McCurry

“We wanted to portray the devotion of these people to defending their own food communities. It would be a shame to allow these unique traditions to disappear. The idea of protecting them is the inspiration behind this calendar dedicated to the Earth Defenders and to the African continent as a whole.

Back in 2015, Lavazza together with Slow Food collaborated with iconic photographer Steve McCurry and creative director Armando Testa for the creation of the Earth Defenders calendar. For lack of the right words, we will loosely though very respectfully sum up the Earth Defenders project as a visual journey of men women who are devoted to nurturing and therefore courageously defending their land in Africa.

“This series take a stand beside all the Earth Defenders and food traditions: they are symbols of hope for local communities and spokespeople of the potential for development and a better future. The picture capture the spirit, strength and humanity of women and men who protect their land and projects in Africa with passion and bravery.” – Photography Office, 2015

From Edward, the guardian of sustainable agriculture to John the pumpkin Lare whisperer. From Maye the spice and grain alchemist to the women of Kafa who are deeply  rooted in coffee. The Earth Defenders project captured Africa’s very warriors, who are at the heart of protecting food traditions for future generations.

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‘Our Roots’ - Ethiopian women from the Kafa region defend and preserve the coffee which symbolises the richness of this land
Argan Oil Paladine - Slow Food - Giel Gone Authentic
‘Argan Oil Paladine’ - Nadia Fatmi, president of the Tighanimine women’s cooperative (a Slow Food Presidium), she is the guardian of the argan tree, which is similar to the olive but grows only on the southern coast of Morocco.
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‘Soul Ingredients’ - Mayé Ndour, a chef and restaurant owner in Senegal, is a champion of cereals and local product
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‘Women of Fadiouth’ - Anna Ndiaye (President of the Gie Mbel Saac Federation on Fadiouth Island in Senegal) fights to defend the quality of salted millet couscous
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‘Saffron and Freedom’ - Mhamd Id Taleb, President of the saffron agricultural cooperative and Slow Food Presidium in Taliouine, a village in the south east of Morocco, the freedom of his lifestyle derives from the cultivation of saffron
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‘The Sentinel Guarding the Plantations’ - Asnakech Thomas, a coffee grower in Ethiopia, the homeland of coffee, she is a determined and passionate guardian of the Ethiopian Arabica coffee she calls “green gold” and regards as the “backbone” of her country
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‘The Chieftain’ - Roba Bulga Jilo, an Ethiopian food activist, he is a member of the Karrayyu tribe of nomadic herders, with whom he has established a Slow Food Presidium to safeguard camel milk, a product with a symbolic value in Ethiopia
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‘The Salt of the Presidium’ - Andrew Wanyonyi Sikanga, a salt producer in Nabuyole, western Kenya, produces salt from an aquatic plant

From 1993, Lavazza began collaborating with esteemed photographers – such as Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz, David LaChapelle and Ellen von Unwerth – to produce a series of calendars that quickly became sought-after collector items. And, for the first time in history, this particular calendar was on sale to support the “10,000 food gardens in Africa” project.

Words by Khumoetsile Seamogano

Images from Photography Office

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