As we gather around the table tomorrow to give thanks with our loved ones, members of CREATE!’s partner communities also gather together to celebrate their harvest. Since the start of CREATE!’s Cooperative Garden Program, over 40 cooperative groups have formed across our partner communities in rural Senegal. They have grown and sold over 60,000 pounds of vegetables as well as planted over 11,000 fruit and nut trees. Thus, developing food security in Senegal for their families and communities. We are so proud of their success!
Communities harvest a variety of vegetables, fruits, and nuts multiple times a year. Because of this wide-range of food, 94-100% of women in our partner communities achieve MDD-W (Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women), a level of dietary diversity associated with good health. Now that they have access to fresh vegetables every day, many women note seeing a significant change in their children’s health as well as their own.
Supporting the Food Security of Their Neighbors
There are over 1,000 participants in the Garden Cooperative Program across CREATE!’s partner communities. However, there are some villagers who do not take part in the garden activities. Because of this, women will sell vegetables from their harvest to these community members. This ensures that everyone in the village is well-fed and taken care of.
However, garden cooperatives go beyond ensuring food security in the community. After providing for their own village, women will take the rest of their harvest to the market. People from other rural villages in the region visit these markets to buy produce, poultry, and other groceries for their families.
Celebrating Success with You!
We want to briefly highlight Mboss, a new community which partnered with CREATE! in 2017. Since their partnership with CREATE!, Mboss has successfully cultivated and sustained a thriving year-round garden. One of the most recent successes is that Mboss harvested over 1,000 pounds of vegetables this summer! We are thrilled that they are doing so well, especially in their first year.
The harvest included onions, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes which are some of the key ingredients in Senegal’s most popular dish. Ceebu Jen, also known as Thieboudienne, is a traditional fish stew served with rice. Due to its popularity, we’ve heard that it’s considered a national dish in Senegal.
In honor of harvest season and the success of our partner communities, we would like to share this delicious and flavorful recipe with you. Ceebu Jen can be made with many different types of fish and vegetables. We’ve chosen this specific recipe from AfricanBites. Bon Appetit!
Ceebu Jen/ Thieboudienne Recipe
3 pounds fish of white firm – fleshed fish
1 cup of chopped parsley
1 cup of chopped green onions
1 large onion sliced
15 oz of tomatoes sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5 garlic cloves
3 cups uncooked short grain rice
2 pounds veggies (carrots, green pepper, eggplant)
2 pounds potatoes/ cassava
8- 10 cups of water
8 oz smoked fish
- First, wash the fish, then score or slit the fish 4 to 5 times on a slant across each side. Rub the fish with lemon, and after salt the fish and set aside.
- In a food processor or blender, puree chopped parsley, green onions, garlic, habanero pepper and Bouillon cubes of your choice.
- Next, dowse fish in one portion of the parsley marinade. Flip the fish so that both sides are coated with the marinade, including the inside of the slashes. Let it set as you prepare the vegetables for the dish. This may be done an hour or two in advance; cover and refrigerate.
- Clean and wash the vegetables. Afterwards cut the carrots, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and cassava into large chunks. Make sure to peel the outer layer of the potatoes and cassava.
- Heat a Dutch oven or a wide heavy saucepan. Add 1 cup of oil, swirl and heat for a few seconds. Next, lower in the fish and fry until fish is brown, around 3 minutes. Turn the fish around and brown for two minutes on the other side. Remove the fish and set aside.
- Next, add the chopped onions and tomatoes sauce. Include the remaining marinade for the fish (about 2 tablespoons), add Bouillon cubes of your choice and salt according to preference. Let it simmer for about five minutes.
- Pour in 6 cups of water and add the cassava and potatoes to cook for about 5 minutes. Then add eggplant, carrots and the peppers last. Let it simmer for about 3 minutes or until tender. Remove the vegetables and set aside.
- Finally, add the rice and about 1-2 cups of water as needed. Adjust for seasonings to taste, add half of the fish. Cover and cook on very low heat on stove top for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and absorbs all the water. Stir occasionally being careful not to let the fish break up.
- Another option is to finish cooking the rice in the oven for about for about 10 minutes or until tender. This minimizes the stirring and prevents burning.
- Remove and serve warm.