OUR food, its origins, and the stories it tells are an important part of our African cultural heritage, our identity. However, the food we consume today, the understanding of its origin, its means of production, and its significance to our health and the environment are rapidly becoming detached.
Our Zambian diet has a lot to offer, and this training has equipped you, as youths to explain why. You should write stories of practice, culture, health, and science. As we celebrate our food cultures, it also warns us of the dangers of chemicals as well as ill-conceived approaches such as bio fortification.
What our children want to eat is heartbreaking. Most children seem to prefer fast foods: pizzas, hamburgers, and so on, accompanied by sugary sodas if their families allow it. This is clear because they want to try something new when they go out to eat. Zambia now has an increasing prevalence of obesity, heart problems, respiratory diseases, cancer, and diabetes.
“Growing healthy food in agroecological ways is not enough,” Lundazi District Commissioner, Marjory Banda observed, “We must educate both the youths and the old about the types of foods that are beneficial to their health.”
“What we have is healthy, and that if we grow the diversity of that we desire, not only will we rejoice, but also will nature around us, because resilience comes from diversity. Climate change, biodiversity loss, increasing pandemics, and other unpredictable factors demand that we consider resilience”, Ms. Marjory Banda noted.
As a Zambian, youths have no idea how to make traditional drink – Munkoyo or cook Lumanda unless they learn. Now, the question is, “How much are we learning from the food knowledge and practice of other Zambian cultures before we adopt the Western diet?”
To address this situation, story storytelling is the most powerful way for the youths and small-scale farmers convey their opinions express their views and share a change story of hope to allow audiences connect to the agroecology approaches that builds resilience of livelihoods and landscapes for a just and sustainable food system.
Against this backdrop that, promoting eating of the healthy Zambian food helps to preserve our culture, with financial support from the Global GreenGrants Fund through AgroEcology Fund; KHUMBILO AGROECOLOGY MEDIA SERVICES has created a unique participatory process for digital content production component dubbed: African Youth Storyteller’s Café, under the tag of “My Food Is African.”
Besides, organised the Digital Media Storytelling Training Workshop for 15 youth journalists to explore the media technology theories and practice and on how youths can interact to produce good and even meaningful change stories.
Using the digital media technology, African Youth Storyteller’s Café inspires, develops and supports a crop of “African Youth Storytellers,” including local filmmakers, photographers, radio and TV producers and creative media writers to produce some indigenous anthologies on agroecological innovations – the collection of poems, songs or stories in an African context, thus creating and generating a series of mental metaphors and images associated with words.
The Consultant/Trainer, Brenda Nglazi Zulu assured, “Change stories have the power to inspire, motivate, and amplify voices for positive transformations of the food system. By crafting impactful narratives, we can ignite change and make a difference in the world.”
“Social media offers unique opportunities for storytelling with a vast and engaged audience. Adapting stories and leveraging visual elements, hashtags, and trends enhance the impact and reach of your narratives,” The Consultant/Trainer Brenda Nglazi Zulu, explained.
According to the Consultant/Trainer, Brenda Nglazi Zulu, strategies for crafting change stories include focusing on solutions – showcase how individuals and communities are actively working to bring about change; utilize data and facts to emphasize the importance of the issue and the need for change; and empower the audience, while encouraging the audience to take action and be part of the change.
Meanwhile, Jacqueline Chilimelime, a youth journalist envisions, “Instead of just writing change stories on agroecology for sustainable food systems, we want to walk the talk in order to demonstrate that they can promote sustainable rural agriculture, absolutely without using chemical fertilizers by forming an agroecological youth innovative cooperative.”
Further, Lundazi District Commissioner, Ms. Banda advocated, “Let’s journey together to reclaim our food heritage and identity, to recognize its value, and to demand food systems that work for us rather than against us. Join me in “My Food is African” campaign by writing balanced stories on why it is essential for each one of us to promote healthy soils, safe food and diverse diets.”
“My Food is African: Healthy Soil, Safe Foods, and Diverse Diets,” a new book in the Barefoot Guide Agroecology Series, guides the journey and accelerates the transition towards agroecology and food sovereignty in Africa.
“African solutions are required to address the continent’s problems of food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty. We have the solutions in our hands,” Professor. Cecilia Moraa Onyango, Senior Lecturer at the University of Nairobi’s Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection abridges it all.