Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) to Host Virtual Food Festival

Published on 22nd September 2020

Culinary or gastronomic tourism, the pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences, is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. This act of experiencing the food of a country, region or area is a manifestation of culture. 

Africa has either been asleep or late on the starting block to recognize new opportunities found in cultural niches before they become dominated and controlled by others. Although Africa has not been top on the mind for food enthusiasts, the destination should not be overlooked. The continent is slowly getting on the radar as a culinary destination by travelers looking for more "authentic" travel experiences.

We measure the weight of our cultural presence and capital in a globalized society by looking at the global accommodation given to our individual cultures. There is a direct relationship between cultural agency and market forces and then ultimately the cultural footprint of Africa in a globalized world.

The Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) is set to host a virtual food festival through the IREN Growthpad platform. The two-day digital event, which will run from 24th to 25th September aims at re- imagining tourism and food experiences in Kenya as part of the organization’s initiative to reactivate economies through food networks.

Last year, IREN published an indigenous recipe book titled “Chakula Chetu: Indigenous Recipes from the Lake Region of Kenya”. 

IREN has put up robust plans to host the IREN Growthpad Virtual Food Festival that will feature various industry players. The event will feature Kamukunji sessions as well as the Chakula Chetu recipe challenge where food bloggers and vloggers will have an opportunity to participate. Also, available will be virtual booth exhibitions for relevant food industries and shelves to showcase books with different recipes.

Although the event focuses on indigenous foods, other sectors will participate as part of the overall aim to popularize food as a tool of bridging regional, economic and cultural disparities.

“At IREN, we recognize how COVID-19 pandemic with its characteristic lockdowns, curfews and distancing disrupted the hospitality sector. We aim to partner with other organizations to explore digitization and food experiences as part of the recovery strategy for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs),”says James Shikwati, Founder Director IREN. 

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