The Good Food Fest photos courtesy David Brazier Photography

It was a real family day out this year at the Good Food Fest now in its 5th year and Naturally Zimbabwean was there to partake in the festivities. The first Traditional and Organic Food Festival took place in December 2013 and has become a popular annual event on the Harare calendar. Now renamed the Good Food Festival, it is the only event in Zimbabwe that brings smallholder farmers, food and seed producers together to interact with consumers, receiving direct market feedback, and exchanging information, all in celebration of healthy, sustainably produced local food.

Once again Bio-Innovation Zimbabwe along with other Food Forum members did an outstanding job in organizing the event.

Presentation at the Farmers’ Dialogue

For the third year, the Food Forum hosted a Farmer’s Dialogue Day before the main festival, bringing together smallholder farmers from across Zimbabwe to learn from each other, listen to speakers from the agriculture sector, swap seeds and techniques and engage in discussion. This year 150 farmers and industry stakeholders participated. Farmers got the opportunity to learn directly what commodities buyers are seeking, in which quantities and at what quality standards.

Presentation at the Farmers’ Dialogue

The main public festival was set, as usual, in the beautiful grounds of Harare’s botanical gardens where visitors could explore over 42 product-stalls, buy seeds and plants directly from farmers and relax with a delicious traditional lunch from the food court while listening to a great line-up of local bands and dance groups. There were also a number of small livestock stalls and stalls showcasing food processing technologies.

High class cosmetics from indigenous fruits
Festival celebrity Super Baoboy the Baobab super hero entertains
Cooking demonstrations
One of the informative stalls from Schools and Colleges Permaculture Programme
So many seeds for sale!

Other entertainment included cooking demonstrations and a Battle of the Chefs challenge where contestants competed, using only local ingredients, in front of a panel of professional chefs.

Battle of the chefs
Judges pannel

This year the Kids Zone stole the show with a seed and tree planting demonstration, puppet theatre and storytelling all centred on learning about local agriculture and food.

Tree planting team
Super Baoboy at the Kids Zone
Learning about food

Despite all of the cash flow issues that Zimbabweans are experiencing, more than 1000 visitors came to the event which was also broadcast live on local radio station ZiFM. Hats off to the organisers for keeping the entrance price at an affordable $1 and organising public transport to and from the venue from the city centre. Everyone we spoke to said, this years was the best festival so far. We can’t wait a whole year for another one so we are challenging other cities to organise something in the mean-time.

Excellent live music
Delicious traditional food
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Anna Brazier

Anna Brazier is the editor of Naturally Zimbabwean. She was born in Zambia but has lived most of her life in Zimbabwe. She has a BSc in Ecology and an MSc in Sustainable Development and works as a consultant promoting sustainable agriculture, nutrition, traditional foods and community resilience in Africa and beyond. She lives in Harare with her husband and three children.

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