Showcasing ideas for sustainable Zimbabwean community food projects

01/07/2021

In June, the Make It Grow team participated in the Planet to Plate festival of talks, performances and live events, hosted by The University of Sheffield's Institute for Sustainable food.

The festival illustrated the power of collaborative research in addressing the grand challenges of food security and sustainability at all scales, from the planetary to the domestic.

Led by Dr Pamela Richardson-Ngwenya, we hosted a video screening and discussion, showcasing a series of participatory videos that pitched ideas for Zimbabwean community food projects.

The project participants, including community group members who joined our online video training workshops, then spoke about the Make It Grow learning experience and answered questions about their community projects and videos proposals.

Linda Kabaira, the National Coordinator for SCOPE Zimbabwe, an environmental education programme, said: "The whole learning process showed that it is actually possible to get the voices of those we represent amplified and out there."

Michar Kumalo, from Gateway Zimbabwe, a collaborative initiative working with communities in Lupane, Chikukwa, Chiadzwa, Epworth and Arcturus, said: "We had an amazing time at the Make It Grow videography workshop with Pamela and the rest of the Gateway Communities which were taking part."

"I've realised how practical and possible making video proposals is, even for the most remote communities." 

With the world fast approaching the limit of its ability to feed itself and the agri-food system under unprecedented pressure, there have been huge shifts in how food is produced and consumed, and how this must be done in the future.

Driven by a combination of rising population, global demographic and dietary shifts, these changes are occurring in the face of depleting natural resources and a changing climate, placing limits on the amount of food we can grow and where we can grow it.

The Institute's vision is therefore to find new ways to understand the complexity of the agri-food system, integrating knowledge across the domains of production and consumption and embedding the needs of a wide range of stakeholders, from consumers and farmers to the wider business community, NGOs and government.

The Institute recognises that achieving a sustainable food future is as much a socio-cultural problem as it is technological, understanding the global nature of the food system while appreciating that its impacts and solutions can be both local and global in scale.

The Make It Grow Project recognises this problem of food insecurity, faced by so many vulnerable communities worldwide. As a Knowledge Exchange project, we have been collaborating with NGOs and CBOs in Zimbabwe to equip individuals from such communities with the skills needed to create participatory video proposals, using smartphone technologies.

The video proposals can be used by community groups and NGOs as a fundraising tool, increasing the accessibility of start-up funds needed to implement their community-based, sustainable food projects.

Following the workshop series, we continue to support our participants' and their fundraising campaigns through ongoing public events and online publication of their video proposals.

Our presentation can be watched online at: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/sustainable-food/home/events/planet-plate-three-day-festival-talks-performances-and-live-events.

Please support our community partners in Zimbabwe to fundraise for their sustainable food projects by sharing this article and by donating to their Crowdfunding campaigns.