“At the global banquet table, African foods and ingredients, together with the continent’s diverse food traditions, remain underrepresented,” says Local Village Foods founder Sipamandla Manqele.
This is why this South African business is on a mission to mainstream indigenous African foods and ingredients in the global market. I recently received a food drop from Local Village foods to sample some of their goods. In the meantime here’s more about the company and their product offerings.
Who is Local Village Foods?
Local Village Foods is an ethics-driven business aimed at making African wholefoods and ingredients more accessible, while enhancing economic inclusion and empowering agri-preneurs across the continent.
“Food is the currency for true connection and helps us to celebrate and appreciate the significance of our diverse traditions. It accompanies all of life’s most significant moments and plays a critical role in the social and traditional life of African cultures and their peoples,” says Manqele.
Local Village Foods has established a network of local, small-scale producers across the continent supplying equitably sourced and sustainably grown indigenous African ingredients.
What’s on offer?
Among the company’s indigenous food offerings are Bambara groundnuts, fonio grain, Tiger nut flour, teff grain, sorghum flour, and moringa.
If you’re looking for healthier alternatives to highly processed foods, then these plant-based and vegan-friendly products are perfect to include in your diet.
“Many people are not aware of the health benefits of traditional African foods. Many of them are considered superfoods due to their nutritional value, or ‘futureproof’ foods owing to the fact that they can be produced sustainably and in areas with low rainfall levels,” says Manqele.
Swapping staples such as maize and white rice for fonio or spelt increases the nutrient content of a dish, while contributing to greater agrobiodiversity, making global food supply more resilient and helps safeguard these ancient variants for future generations, shows a recent report by Knorr and the WWF titled ‘Future 50 Foods’.
“The search for nutrient-dense plants has taken us toward ancient grains, heirloom plant varieties, and less commonly cultivated crops. There is a good reason for rediscovering some of the forgotten plants,” Dr Adam Drewnowski, Director of The Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington, states in the report.
Local Village Foods offers two primary product lines: its flagship wholefood offering, as well as the Bissap Beverages product line.
Bissap is a plant-based drink brewed from Roselle, a species of the hibiscus plant extensively consumed in West Africa. Across the continent it is known by many names, including wonjo, dabileni, tsobo, zobo, or sobolo. It is frequently the drink of choice for times of gathering and celebration.
The snack bars are perfect as an on-the-go treat. I’ve also been adding the tiger nuts to my salads. I’m planning on using my cacoa for dairy free chocolate summer milkshake. I’ll post the recipe here once I’m happy with the balance.
Where to find it
You can find Local Village Foods products online on their store The Local Village or on Takealot.com, and at select pharmacies, retailers, delis, and supermarkets across Southern Africa.