IREN Growthpad Host its First-Ever Virtual Food Festival

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The just-concluded IREN Growthpad Virtual Food Festival saw various tourism, food sectors, hospitality and industry players take part.

The two- day digital food festival took place on the 24 th and 25th of September; under the theme; Re-Imagine, Connect, Build Food Tourism in Kenya as part of the organization’s initiative toreactivate economies through food networks.

The event aimed at connecting rural-urban economies through promotion of Kenyan Indigenous cuisines, promoting both domestic and international food tourism experience in Kenya and providing a consolidated platform that showcases use of virtual reality and digital platforms to promote the food tourism in Kenya.

The event also featured various activities including Kamukunji Sessions, The Chakula ChetumRecipe Challenge, Food Vloggers Challenge, Virtual Booth Exhibitions, Cooking Demos, Master Classes among others.

“Kenya has experienced a drop in international visits, and as The Inter Region Economic,Network, we foresee the domestic tourism as the very first thing that will restart the sector before the international tourists gain confidence to travel once again” Said James Shikwati – The Founder Director of The Inter Region Economic Network (IREN).

Mr. Shikwati added that thisyear’s IREN Growthpad Virtual Food Festival is to encourage our Kenyan Chefs to look at a possibility of mining into the Indigenous Foods and the diaspora to connect with our rural farmers for an uptake in putting up restaurants in their various countries to experience foods with an African touch.

Inge Herbert of The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom called on the participants to re- imagine, reframe and adapt to the “New Normal” following the COVID-19 disruptions. She added that the Kenyan Food Sector has a lot of potential with the local foods, tourism, agricultural opportunities, innovation and creation which is in line with the frame of the German Ministry of Cooperation that seeks to create a world without hunger through income generation projects, property rights and the opportunities in the rural sector.

During the festival, IREN Kenya through its Growthpad platform officially launched their partnership with Making More Health Company; a global initiative by Boehringer Ingelheim and Ashoka that aims to create a healthier world for individuals, animals, and their communities.

“Complex challenges can be solved if we partner and build ecosystems of change only across traditional borders. Thank you to IREN Growthpad for being with us in this journey “Said Manuela Pastore – Global Manager for Social Entrepreneurial Initiative-Making More Health at Boehringer Ingelheim.

The key outcomes from the IREN Growthpad Virtua Food Festival include; The selection of top five Food Vloggers for training by the reknown Travel Vlogger Mr. Rajvir Soin, Top 20 recipes from across Kenya voted for by the participants to be included in volume 2 of the IREN Chakula Chetu Recipe Book , Top 10 touchpoints on how to activate Food Tourism in Kenya, Basic Digital Strategies on how to activate the Tourism Sector and the IREN Growthpad Partnership Launch with Boehringer Ingelheim"s 'Make More Health' to promote rural economies through promotion of Indigenous Recipes.