Let’s Talk About Food

This July, the V&A Waterfront co-hosted and sponsored Food Dialogues, an annual two-week event that explores how to nurture a sustainable and equitable food ecosystem.

Central to the V&A Waterfront’s ethos and principles is fostering the resilience, transformation and prosperity of everyone in our neighbourhood. We are dedicated to positive and inclusive food system change. Makers Landing and its Incubation Programme were born out of the belief that a community of talented entrepreneurs, given the right resources and mentorship, can create self-sufficient businesses that benefit themselves, their families, their community, and the whole city.

We also believe in facilitating dialogues encouraging a better life for all, and we share this vision with the SA Urban Food & Farming Trust. Every year, it curates Food Dialogues, an annual two-week event that starts conversations about how food shapes and enables our lives, the injustices of our food system, and how we can collectively transition to a system that nourishes us as people, families, and a society.

“Our partnership with Food Dialogues focuses on bringing key issues facing our food ecosystem and the broader Cape Town value chain to light. Providing a platform for these critical dialogues to take place enables thought leadership and education, and our ability to share this with a broader audience, including our consumers, lies at the heart of our partnership with Food Dialogues. Makers Landing serves as the home of our food ecosystem work and thus was the ideal home for Food Dialogues, and we remain committed to the Food Dialogues mission whilst looking forward to expanding on this next year.” – Henry Mathys, Senior Manager: Social Impact & Food Ecosystem Head at V&A Waterfront

Food Dialogues 2023 was held from 4 – 18 July, and this year’s theme was ‘Polycrisis’. Industry experts such as Funmi Adeniyi, Leonie Joubert and Mark Swilling and attendees participated in discussions around the crises impacting our food systems and how to best navigate these changes at the Polycrises And The Food System Conference at Makers Landing.

Food Dialogues also launched the Pan African Webinar. This online-only conference laid the foundation for Food Dialogues in other African urban centres to create both Pan-African and global connections. The panel included speakers from Uganda, Kenya, Tunisia and Burkina Faso who delved into topics on business and the economy, health and disease, and the food-water-energy nexus.

Other activations included the Food Dialogues Art Exhibition, the always-popular Dialogues Through Food (this year, inclusive chef-led culinary adventures focussed on food and spirituality), five Food Systems Walking Tours, the Polycrises Pantry with Zayaan Khan dining experience, and the Building a Black Supply Chain culinary adventure.

And hey, the kids also got a look-in. Teens were invited to a Teens Food Journey and to join Black Girls Rising for the Teens and Nutrition Workshop in a dialogue with local government representatives, and kids aged five to ten explored flavour profiles in the Guided Children and Parent Food Adventure. We can’t wait for Food Dialogues 2024. Want to get involved or participate? Follow Food Dialogues on social media and subscribe to its email updates.