Going beyond World Food Day: Helpful ways to create a sustainable food system with good food for everyone

Following the recent global commemoration of World Food Day on 16 October the Food Dialogues encourages all South Africans to take actions that help create a sustainable food system with good food for everyone. 

“We all need to eat every day, and this creates an opportunity to make a difference every day, building upon the annual attention World Food Day brings to our broken and unequal food system,” says Kurt Ackermann, CEO of the SA Urban Food & Farming Trust, which annually hosts the Food Dialogues.  

According to Ackermann, as a consumer, we can all make a daily difference by supporting local small scale producers through food buying clubs, farmers markets and by looking out for produce at supermarkets that are sourced from small independent producers. You can also buy seasonal produce. In these ways you help to mitigate climate change. Whether as a consumer, or someone in business, civil society, academia, government or youth, there are practical, achievable ways you can make a difference,” adds Ackermann.

Food Dialogues 2022, which took place in July this year, considered our present day societal relationship with food by looking at key aspects of our food system – where we buy our food from and how nourished we are from the food we eat – as well as how we can better partner to govern our food system, and how the medium of food itself can bring us insight, connection and joy. The production of the event itself also supported 25 local SMMEs. 

In total, attendees engaged in thirteen events over fourteen days at the V&A Waterfront, Philippi Village and Bertha House in Mowbray for more than 1200 hours, while media coverage reached 26 million readers, listeners and viewers, with social media platforms reaching an additional 82 000 users. Food Dialogues will take place again in 2023, at venues across Cape Town, from Tuesday 4 to Tuesday 18 July 2023.

This annual initiative of the South African Urban Food and Farming Trust is made possible by its 13 event partners, co-hosted and sponsored by SOLVE@Waterfront and co-sponsored by the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security and the DG Murray Trust.

In committing to ongoing sponsorship of Food Dialogues for 2023, Henry Mathys of Solve@Waterfront stated,  There is a wealth of stories about food that needs to be told. Food Dialogues is a wonderful platform on which people connect, share learnings and help drive a way of thinking about the food value chain that increases considerations of sustainability, inclusivity and opportunity. We look forward to a third year of working with our partners at Food Dialogues. Our goal is to create an inspiring example at the V&A Waterfront – and beyond – of how collectively we can work towards a just, sustainable locally-biased food systems that supports health and well-being.”

Food Dialogues 2023

Given the enormous impact of Covid-19 on our food systems, and the incredible ways in which civil society responded to this impact to support communities in need, Food Dialogues 2023 will dedicate space to an analysis of this impact, and to what extent our food systems have been changed by Covid-19, for better and for worse, and what that changes means for the future. 

“There will be other deep explorations: Food Dialogues 2023 will explore food and climate change, food and teenage health, and food and big business,” says Ackermann who adds that  there will also be plenty of fun events! “As in Food Dialogues 2022, there will be plenty of eating events, allowing us to find and share our common humanity over meals in different parts of the city. A big focus will be food and faith, with inter-faith dining events curated across the city. Kids will get in on the action too, with food adventures for parents and children to enjoy together.” 

Food Dialogues 2023 will see the addition of some purely virtual events, opening the conversations up to participants and panelists outside of Cape Town. The food systems art exhibition at the V&A Waterfront that began as a small experiment in 2022, will grow in 2023 in the hands of an art curator.And walking tours will feature again, using the landscape of the city and the township to unpack spatial and historic food systems.  

People and organisations wishing to join the dialogue on these themes are welcome to connect at hello@fooddialogues.info.  Further details of Food Dialogues 2023, as they are revealed, will be available at fooddialogues.info and across social media channels.

Facebook: fb.me/FairFoodSA

Instagram: @food_dialogues

Twitter: @food_dialoguesLinkedIn: LinkedIn.com/showcase/food-dialogues

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