The Vegetable Festival Organized to Celebrate Our Traditional Vegetables.
Vegetables in Uganda are produced both on a small scale and commercial basis since the ancient times. However, the consumption of vegetable is decreasing with time mainly among young people due to a number of factors which has led to the fears of loosing the local, traditional and the indigenous vegetables at a verge of extinction. Traditional vegetables are considered to be weeds in various homesteads. Malnutrition is extensive in Uganda with 29% of children being chronically undernourished or stunted. Most of them lack micro-nutrients in their diets; 28% of the children suffer from vitamin A deficiency and 73% from iron deficiency, both of which increase the risk of blindness, disease, and death. African tradition vegetables are very crucial in improving nutrition for children because they are rich in minerals and vitamins. Uganda is gifted with favorable climatic conditions and good soils appropriate for the cultivation of various traditional vegetables. However, domestication of vegetables has not been done appropriately which has left the majority being wild and volunteer vegetable plants.
The Vegetable Festival is an event organized by Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN) Uganda together with Slow Food Uganda that is about reviving the local, traditional and indigenous vegetables as well as feasting together the joy of having and maintaining them. It is through the vegetable festival that young people involved in the 10,000 Gardens in Africa project meet with other community members to discuss and showcase different values of vegetables as well as endorsing cultivation of vegetables among young people to make strategic future fight against malnutrition and hunger in schools and communities hence addressing the challenge.
Youths from different areas/regions including schools and communities around Uganda come together to showcase the various local and indigenous vegetables from their regions to share the knowledge on how to propagate, prepare, preserve as well as involving education activities about vegetable growing and consumption. Particularly, the vegetable festival has been organized consistently on annual basis since 2015 by the Slow Food Youth Network Uganda.
Under the theme “Showcasing different local and traditional vegetables for sovereignty”, the Vegetable Festival 2018 will be hosted by Kisowera Primary School Mukono on 6th July 2018 with the aim of showcasing the cultural value of local, indigenous and traditional vegetables and highlight the significant contribution of these vegetables to the food systems for food sovereignty and the nutritional benefits. It will attract more than 500 participants from schools, universities and communities. Communities will showcase various local, traditional and indigenous vegetables from their localities and there will be an exhibition for others to learn. Nutrition education activities will be conducted alongside other activities like the cooking competition, vegetable tasting, learning about the cultivation, preservation and preparation methods.