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Food Fest 2014 ready to roll

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FOLLOWING a successful launch at the same venue last year, the second edition of the Traditional & Organic Food Festival will be held on September 27 and 28 this year, at the National Botanic Gardens in Harare.

Tinashe Sibanda

Last year’s inaugural festival which was planned as a celebration of natural and healthy eating drew an encouraging number of people who came to see and purchase a splendid selection of foods that were on sale at the Traditional & Organic Food Festival.

“This year, running from 9am to 4pm, the intention is still the same: to promote the production and consumption of traditional and organic foods which are now internationally regarded as the healthier options,” said a member of the organising committee, Melody Mundawarara.

Entertainment will be provided by local artistes: Sniper Storm, Edith weUtonga, Vera, BaShupi, Steve Chikotie, Zim Jam Signal and the Kubatana Unite Marimba Ensemble are in the line-up. There will also be cooking and other food processing demonstrations. Carl Joshua Ncube will be showcasing his culinary skills.

An exciting programme of activities has been planned for primary school-age children in the KidsZone. They will be able to do colouring, mask-making, and create objects from recycled materials. They will also be introduced to traditional dance and the playing of traditional musical instruments.

Several groups have collaborated in setting up both editions of the event and the organisations include the Zimbabwe Adding Value to Sustainable Agriculture Produce (AVSAP), Cluster Agricultural Development Services (CADS), Zimbabwe Organic Producers and Promoters Association (ZOPPA), Zimbabwe Small-Scale Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF), Sustainable Tourism Enterprises Promotion (STEP), Bio-Innovation in Zimbabwe (BIZ) and Food Matters Zimbabwe.

Also taking part in the collaborative efforts are representatives from various government ministries including the Ministries of Health and Child Welfare; Agriculture and Mechanisation, Industry and Commerce; and Women’s Affairs.

There has also been support from the Food and Nutrition Council as well as the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.

“The overall aim is to encourage producers and consumers, who some call co-producers because of their potential to influence how production happens, towards food systems that produce, process and market healthy and nutritious foods in a sustainable way,” she said.

Mundawarara added that nearly 40 stallholders would display a variety of food and drink, both for buying and, in some cases, for tasting. Information will be provided as well.

She said there will also be stalls run by small-scale organic farmers and food businesses, government ministries, NGOs; amongst others.

“Farmers will be coming from different parts of the country. Pop-up restaurants will be selling lunch, snacks and drinks that are in line with the theme of the festival. A diversity of traditional, nutritious foods from Zimbabwe and other countries will be available,” Mundawarara added.

Mindful that habits start early in life, the children will get an opportunity to learn about healthy foods, lifestyles and the SPCA will arrange donkey cart rides and a pen of farm animals; as well as a short talk about them.

A reduced entry fee into the National Botanic Gardens has been negotiated for the Traditional & Organic Food Festival. Children under the age of 12 will enter for $0,50 and everyone else will be charged $1.

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