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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.