What will it take for Zimbabwean farmers to produce and for consumers to consume more traditional, adapted, local, nutritious foods?

That is the theme of the Zimbabwe Traditional and Organic Food Forum’s 3rd Food and Seed Festival to be held on a Saturday during the last half of Sept-first half of Oct 2015 (the date will be confirmed as soon as we have secured funding). This festival is fast becoming a compelling fixture in the Harare calendar. This year we are adding the dimension of seed for the first time. Diversity of seed is, of course, closely tied to nutrition.

The Traditional and Organic Food and Seed Festival is a chance for farmers and food producers from around Zimbabwe to gather in Harare and interact with the capital of consumers. It’s a chance to celebrate diverse foods from all over Zimbabwe and to stay up to date with what is happening in this field. We celebrate foods from other parts of Africa too.

Please spread the word as far and wide as possible

In addition to the festival the food forum will this year be holding a full (Friday) morning’s discussion on issues related to the above theme. This will be an opportunity for concerned consumers, farmers, NGO staff, Government officials, academics and other citizens interested in this topic to come together and discuss what they see as critical issues in shifting our diet in Zimbabwe. The Friday morning session will be run in an open and creative way that allows people to explore these issues in some depth.

More and more people are recognising how poor the Zimbabwean diet has become and how things need changing. But it’s one thing to recognise this and another to do something about it. It’s not so straightforward. A lot hinges on consumers and what they demand. What can be done so that consumers demand more local, traditional and organic food? What should farmers be doing at the same time? How can the link between farmers and consumers be strengthened much more so that they are working together? There are many, many questions. This is an opportunity for you to bring your questions to what will undoubtedly be engaged and dynamic discussions – these are issues close to many of our hearts.

Friday’s gathering will take place at the Botanical Gardens, starting at 0830. The session will end at 1300 and will be followed by lunch. After lunch, there will be cooking demos starting at 1400 and going on for an hour or two. The demonstrations will include some of those things served for lunch. If you would like to join us for this session on Friday, please email: hararefoodfestival@gmail.com so that we have an idea of numbers. The charge for lunch will be USD 5.

The festival on Saturday will as in previous years be held at the Botanical Gardens, from 0900 to 1600. Entrance is USD 1 pp.

Previous articleZimbabwean teas feature at Africa’s Big 7 tradeshow
Next articleThe transformative potential of finger millet
Caroline Jacquet
Caroline Jacquet, though not indigenous to Zimbabwe, considers herself naturalised. She studied Forestry and Natural Resources Management in Leuven, Belgium and arrived in Zimbabwe in 2002, to work for the World Agroforestry Centre. She’s since worked for the Zimbabwe Adding Value to Sustainable Agriculture Produce (ZAVSAP) network and KAITE and is the Project Manager at Bio-Innovation Zimbabwe (BIZ) since 2013. BIZ researches mostly indigenous plants for their commercial potential. If she had to tag her work experience and interests, she’d say: plants, conservation, sustainable use, income-generation, value-addition, small-scale producers, local foods. She’s been organising yearly traditional food festivals since 2010, first with ZAVSAP and since 2013 with the Zimbabwe Traditional and Organic Food Forum. When not busy with natural (food) products, Caroline likes to read her Kindle in the sun and walk her dogs (and husband) in the Christon Bank hills.