The Food Imbizo developed from the ‘Food Governance Community of Practice’, which was initiated by researchers within the Centre of Excellence in Food Security.
A Community of Practice is a group of people who share a common interest or concern and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis.
The Food Governance Community of Practice formed from a set of workshops held at the University of the Western Cape in 2017 in which researchers, provincial government officials and practitioners discussed recent research findings and identified knowledge gaps and possible ways to fill these.
The first meeting under the banner of the Food Governance Community of Practice was held in Cape Town in March 2018 in which the members discussed the potential aims, values and activities of the group. You can see the report of this meeting here.
During that first year other joint positioning documents were co-produced by the community members including a Good Food Declaration for the Western Cape.
The members of the Food Governance Community of Practice met 4-5 times a year in face to face meetings in Cape Town in 2018 and 2019. Records of the meetings can be found here. A smaller Food Governance Community of Practice was also established in Gauteng.
In March 2020 at the start of the Covid 19 pandemic (and in anticipation of the profound impact the lockdown would have on the food system) the Community of Practice’s meetings went on line and increased in frequency. The meetings became much larger as they were open for anyone who was able and wanted to participate.
Towards the end of 2021 it was decided by the Food Governance Community of Practice Secretariat and Reference Group that the Community of Practice was now more of an open and fluid network and we would rename ourselves the Food Imbizo.
You can read more about the concept of a Community of Practice as well as the history and lessons learnt from the Food Governance Community of Practice in the journal articles published about our experiences.