Behind the scenes at Naturally Zimbabwean
A celebration of Zimbabwe's traditional organic food and seeds
The traditional Zimbabwean diet was historically highly diverse and nutritious. However, over the past 5 or 6 generations, people in Zimbabwe have moved away from traditional foods to a heavy reliance on processed foods, particularly maize.
This shift has taken a toll on the health and nutrition of Zimbabweans on both ends of the malnutrition spectrum: 26.6% of children under 5 years of age suffer from stunting linked to poor dietary diversity while 35% of adult women and 12% percent of men are overweight or obese. In 2014, lifestyle diseases killed 138,000 people – 31% of all deaths – in Zimbabwe (WHO). In 2017, there was a decrease in households consuming an acceptable diet and an increase in households consuming a poor diet. The Zimbabwe Traditional and Organic Food Forum seeks to change this.
The Zimbabwe Food Forum’s approach aims to treat the causes of nutrition problems rather than the symptoms. We do this through a range of activities – community outreach, cooking demonstrations, product development, marketing campaigns and promotional events, and capstone events like the annual Food Festival.
As a network of like-minded organizations and individuals, our aim is to increase the consumption of nutritious traditional and organic foods. We work through multiple channels and efforts to re-establish a healthy food culture by changing the perception Zimbabweans have of local foods, facilitating a return to traditional ingredients and food preparations, and promoting the consumption of healthy local foods. We do this through a range of activities— community outreach, collaborations with chefs and food companies, product development, marketing campaigns and capstone events like the annual Good Food Festival.
The Food Forum considers this its core business and the Naturally Zimbabwean website is key to its efforts to share information and promote dialogue with people and communities across Zimbabwe and the region.