Understanding and enhancing the role of indigenous and the traditional gastronomy it conveys is crucial. This reinforces food sovereignty, coping strategies for climate change, ecosystem resilience and adequate nutritional requirements. Furthermore, it helps in bring together positive aspects of sustainable intensification, to reflect the realities of small-scale farmers, for them to be supported and promoted to ensure the future of good, clean and fair food. Strategies, actions, agricultural practices and approaches, and an enabling environment that promotes the conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity for food and agriculture, are likewise very significant.
At the Slow Food Uganda Food Wise event 2018, under the theme know your food, the indigenous and traditional food of Uganda was celebrated and its role appreciated, raising awareness among local communities of their indigenous and traditional food heritage. The event was held on 9th November 2018 at St. Jonan Bright Infant School, Mukono, attracting over 200 people including youths from the Slow Food Youth Network Uganda, 4 schools and 21 producers from 5 food communities.
The Food Wise event had several activities including showcasing and celebrating indigenous food from the Baganda, Basoga, and Basamya tribes. This included exhibiting the traditional tools used in production, preparation, preservation and consumption of food. The knowledgeable people explained the different food varieties and their nutrition values, how they are produced, prepared, preserved and consumed, while demonstrating the ancient behaviors for serving and consuming food. This was followed by the explanation of the cultural and medicinal attachment of traditional and indigenous food. The products and traditional dishes exhibited include; Luwombo, climbing yams, Omugoyo (mixture of beans and sweet potato), bambala ground nuts, oysternut, pumpkins, pigeon peas, field peas, akanakanaka mushroom, Kobe yam, mirandano passion fruit, ground nuts, indigenous leafy vegetables, banana, cassava, Omubisi (Juice made from Kayinja banana) and bitter berries.
There were interesting educative poems on climate change, Slow Food, and food for change recited by the pupils of the host school, St. Jonan Bright Infant School.
In his remarks, Mr. Stephen Segirinya, the Chairperson Local Council one, Nabale Village thanked Slow Food Uganda for reviving the indigenous and traditional food of Uganda. He argued the youth to always prioritize and embrace it with the aim of saving such food from extinction. “The young generation should have knowledge on the indigenous food as a way of protecting it from disappearing” the chairman said. He added that there are so many species of food which are endangered and through such events we can work to save them by letting others know about such food species.
Mr. Wagaba Francis, the Chairperson Local Council 3, said: “We should always ensure the availability of a variety of indigenous and traditional food on our menus for improved dietary intake and saving of the ecosystem”.
The chief guest was Ms. Namugambe Angela Musoke the Nakifuma sub-county cultural chief of Buganda Kingdom. She thanked the initiative of Slow Food Uganda to bring communities together with the aim of promoting the traditional and indigenous food. “Through promoting the indigenous and traditional food, we are promoting culture as well, so I will make sure that we organize such events in our localities together with the help of Buganda kingdom to ensure that our children can understand the relationship between food, culture and climate change”she said. She added that to improve the food system requires a multi-stakeholder approach and she called upon all stakeholders to come together and fight for food which is healthy, environmentally friendly and respectful of culture.
Through this event, small scale farmers from the food communities that participated were appreciated as heroes of food and backbone of the food chain in celebration of the “Thank a Farmer Month”. These were appreciated for their contribution towards putting food on the table always and for their dedication to the creation of good, clean and fair food.