A festival dedicated to improving nutrition through local fruits and juices
In Uganda 33% of children under 5 years are stunted and 49% suffer from wasting (UDHS 2011). Fruits are important to the human body due to their nutrients. We started the Fruit and juice party to tackle Nutrition, Education on Food, Save Biodiversity and Connect learners and Schools in a solid Network of Good Food system advocates through a Festival dedicated to Local Fruits and Juices.
On 14th April 2018, it started with a pour in Kyabakuza, Masaka District where the fruit and Juice party was organized from. This did not hinder the pupils from ten different schools to come and attend the event. More than 120 children and 50 community members came as were celebrating our local-traditional fruits.
It was attention-grabbing when children were directly involved in the preparation of fruits and juices. There were more than 10 fruit varieties which were brought by the community members and the schools with the aim of showcasing them to the children. Some of the fruits prepared included, pawpaw, pineapples, sweet banana, sugarcanes, oranges, watermelon, jackfruit, mangoes, carrots among others.
In his speech, the president of Slow Food Uganda and at the same time is the vice president of Slow Food international stated that it is always important for the children to understand the importance of consuming fruits and he argued them to always grow fruits and vegetable at home for consumption which will help in improving nutrition among households. “We organize the Fruit and juice Party in a framework of creating awareness on consuming local-traditional fruits and vegetables which help to fight cases of malnutrition mostly among children”. Mr. Edward Mukiibi said.
In the nutritional camp facilitated by Mr. John Kiwagalo the coordinator of Slow Food Youth Network Uganda, the children and their teachers plus the available community members were taken through the immediate and underlying causes of malnutrition among children which include food insecurity, consumption of imbalanced, excessive or insufficient nutrients among others. This is the primary cause of long-term health problems and educational challenges. He asked them to always prioritize fruits and vegetables on their day to day menu so as they can diminish malnutrition since fruits and vegetables are a source of important nutrients like vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, Calcium among others.
There was also a session on seeds according to Slow Food where Mr. John Wanyu took the audience through local-traditional seeds vs hybrid and engineered seeds in terms of nutrition value and biodiversity conservation. This was a practical session where fruits of both kinds were used to demonstrate what exactly was being talked about.
The children were then taken into the sensory education where they used their senses to feel, smell and look at the fruits so as they can identify them.
The tasting session then followed with eating fruits and drinking juice made from different fresh fruits. The children who prepared the fruits and juices led this session of tasting as they were serving as well as explaining what they were serving to the people. The children tasted different types of fruits like jackfruit, watermelon, mangoes, oranges, sweet banana, avocado, tomatoes, carrots, sugarcane mentioned but a few. Juice was prepared from the fruits mentioned above and it was also served to the audience.
A poem on local fruits and vegetables was cited by pupils of Kiwangala Community Primary School which involved a lot of important information. They also entertained the guests through different activities like singing and dancing.
The Fruit and Juice Party Festival is being organized in the framework of promoting Agriculture, nutrition and Fruit growing considering locally grown fruits and Food in Uganda. This is organised by Slow Food Uganda and the partners with the intention to bring different School gardening participants together in a non-formal way promoting Fruit and vegetable growing, preparation and consumption through a join fest where they discuss other food related topics and create a garden to share skills of how to start a nutritional garden as well as discussing about Nutrition.
Slow Food Uganda is part of Slow Food a global grassroots organization that envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet. Slow Food involves over a million activists, chefs, experts, youth, farmers, fishers and academics in over 160 countries.