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Akoth Ambugo, keynote speaker, harvesting Dek, an indigenous Kenyan vegetable. Photo credit: Owen Taylor of Truelove Seeds


Kalamazoo Valley Foodways Symposium

April 5 & 6, 2024 | FREE

African Heritage

The 2024 Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium will take place on April 5 at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and April 6 at the Marilyn J Schlack Culinary and Allied Health Building. The event is meant to inspire and empower the greater Kalamazoo community to honor its agricultural history and heritage cuisines, celebrate good food, and work together to build a just and healthy future for all. Join us for a weekend of exploration, learning and fun.


Kalamazoo Valley Museum,
230 N. Rose St., downtown Kalamazoo

6 – 7 p.m. Seed swap and a soft launch of the Kalamazoo Seed Collaborative.

7 – 8 p.m.  Keynote address: “Healing Soils and Souls” — Join Kenyan land steward Akoth Ambugo in an evening of sharing her life’s journey and how the quest for purpose and identity has led her down a path of discovery, revealing layers that have added beauty and depth to her daily life. Akoth will share how community, food, spirituality and the search for health have made her return to the source of earthly foundations — soil.

8 – 8:30 p.m. Enjoy samples of Clark’s Specialty Kitchen Nigerian Fusion specialties.


Marilyn J. Schlack Culinary and Allied Health Building,
418 E. Walnut St., downtown Kalamazoo

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Join us for a day of culinary exploration and musical performances from the African continent, featuring Ghanian peanut stew, a Jollof rice from Burkina Faso, a pumpkin stew from Liberia, a traditional breakfast of Uji from Kenya and so much more. A celebration is only complete with music, so Rootead Youth Drum and Dance Ensemble will complete the day with an interactive performance of West African dance. Presentations, youth activities, a community organization showcase, tours of the building and a brewery open house are available throughout the day. Lunch may be purchased at the Havermill Café. All are welcome!

Akoth Ambugo
Keynote: Healing Soils and Souls

Akoth Ambugo

Friday, April 5
7 – 8 p.m.

The Foodways Symposium provides historical, cultural and practical insights into the region’s food and food systems, and equally important, serves as a yearly convening point for students, practitioners and the community to come together to ensure our local food system remains strong and vibrant.

The event is made possible in part by a grant from the KVCC Foundation.

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