After just four months of organisation, the first Zimbabwe Traditional and Organic Food Festival was successfully held at Harare’s Botanic Gardens last Saturday. Farmer organisations, farmers, food outlets and nutrition specialists came from all over the country to celebrate Zimbabwean food and the public flocked to buy their products or taste their wares.
Over 30 stalls were on display, seven stalls from which to buy prepared food for lunch, talks and demonstrations throughout the day and a stage with live music. The rain held off until the very end.
There was a steady flow of people throughout the day, coming to feast on the healthy food, learn about organic farming, find out how to cook the foods on offer and listen talks from different specialists. “I have learnt so many ways of cooking many traditional dishes and I’m going to try it out so that my family can get a taste of delicious healthy food,” enthused Chipo Musakanene who attended the festival.
Another visitor, Michael Fischer, said, “I have had a great time tasting food and through meeting different interesting people. I have learnt a lot about organic food which I will go on to share with friends and family who could not come through.”
One stall holder from Cluster Agriculture Development Services (CADS) said, “We came to the festival with an aim to spread education so that when people start appreciating traditional and organic foods they may hype their production to the extent that we will be able to fend for the whole nation with the healthy products.” At the CADS stand were foods from all sorts of organic products, ranging from rapoko eggrolls, watermelon cakes, baobab cakes to millet pies.
“The event provides a good platform for us to promote the ideals of organic farming and benefits to both people and the environment,” said Nelson Kuhudzai, marketing officer at ZOPPA, one of the festival organisers.
Key organiser Caroline Jacquet, speaking about the future of the event, said the organisers are determined that this will not be a one off. “It was clear right from the start that this is a first step in introducing a practice and culture of food festivals,” she explained. “We are all determined to keep celebrating, more and more, the wholesome foods that will nourish our bodies and that will sustain the ecosystems that we all depend on and that will give small-scale farmers the kind of livelihoods they deserve.”
Certainly a space to watch!
Photograph: Bio Innovation Zimbabwe (BIZ)