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Co-Lecture:Heritage and Utilization of Indigenous African Foods


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Egerton University, through the African Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Agriculture and Agribusiness Management (CESAAM) and the Faculty of Agricultue, in collaboration withThe Italian Cultural Institute at the Embassy of Italy, Nairobi is pleased to announce a co-lecture scheduled for Monday 23rd January 2023 at the ARC Hotel, Egerton University. The co-lecture whose theme is “Heritage and Utilization of indigenous African Foods” will be delivered by Prof. Michele FilippoFontefrancesco (University of Gastronomic Sciences, Italy) and Dr. StellamarisMuthoka (Egerton University, Kenya).

This will be organized as a blended meeting where physical participation/attendance is strictly by invitation and virtual participation (Zoom is open to others within and outside Kenya.

The co-lecture event will seek to revisit the rich heritage of African agriculture and the importance ofimportance of traditional agricultural and culinary products and their utilization in ways consitent with Slow Food International’s commitment to “Prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life and combat peoples’ dwindling interest in the food they eat”, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us”. The topics of the lectures are:

Lecture 1: Enhancing the Utilization of Indigenous Foods in Kenya byDr. StellamarisMuthoka (Egerton University, Kenya).

Lecture 2: Revisiting the African Agriculture and Cuisines: The Role of Food Heritage in the Growing Food Sector in Kenya by Prof. Michele FilippoFontefrancesco (UOGS, Italy).

This is therefore to invite you all to participate in the co-lecture, either physically (by invitation only) or virtually starting 2:00 PM Nairobi Time

(see attached programme).



stellamuthokaDr. Stellamaris Muthoka is a Lecturer in Applied Human Nutrition and currently Chairperson of Department of Human Nutrition, Egerton University. Dr.Muthoka  holdsa Doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences from Egerton University (2011),  Diploma in Food and Nutrition Security Wageningen University(2009), Master of Science in Applied Human Nutrition  from University of Nairobi, Kenya (1998) and a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture and Home Economics from Egerton University, Kenya (1991).

Dr.Muthokahas wealth of experience in participatory research and community mobilization and development and consultancy services focusing on enhanced livelihoods especially in the arid and semi-arid areas, food and nutrition security, rights to Food and in Maternal and Child Health. Over the past decade, Dr.Muthoka has widened her research and consultancy domain in the health and water areas in multi-sectoral researches including rehabilitation of Njoro River towards meeting the Vision 2030. 

Dr.Muthokahas published in peer reviewed scientific publications and made contributions in numerous scholarly conferences, workshops and community outreach. She has and is currently supervising severalpostgraduate (Masters and Doctoral) students both in Kenya and internationally. Currently she is supervising a PhD student, whose thesis focuses on “Assessing the contribution of sweet potato leaves on iron and nutritional status in women”.

Dr.Muthoka is currently a member of Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Fat and Oils Technical Committee; an External examiner for graduate programme,  Department of  Food and Human Sciences, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Malawi;  Member of Nutrition Security Technical Working Group (MOH) and Nutrition Linkages Technical Working Group (MOA); She is a registered member of the Kenya Nutritionist and Dietetics Institute, Scaling Up Nutrition –Academia Committee and has also served as Project Management Committee member of CDF project in Lanet and Bahati , Nakuru County.

 michele.jpgProf. Michele FilippoFontefrancesco is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Gastronomic Sciences and convenor of the undergraduate program in Gastronomic Sciences and Cultures.Michele holds a Bachelor of Arts in History (2005) and Master of Arts in Italian Language and Culture (2007) from the University of Eastern Piedmont, Italy. Thereafter he continued with his education in Poland, USA and UK. He completed his Doctoral thesis titled “Crisis in the city of gold: Emplacement, industry and economic downturn in Valenza, Italy” and graduated in 2013 at Durham University, UK. His PhD study focused on “The impact of the 2008 global economic crisis on the development of artisanship in Italy”.

Since mid-2000s, his research has focused on local development, with particular attention onEntrepreneurship, Sustainable Development, and the Construction of Local Know-How. In the recent times, Prof Fontefrancesco’s active research in Southern Europe and East Africa (Kenya) has been on the Role of Food Tourism in the development of rural areas and the processes concerning the discovery and use of food heritage for tourism development.

He has published over 60 scientific articles, monographs, chapters and reviews internationally; among them The End of the City of Gold?: Industrial and Economic Crisis in an Italian Jewellery Town (Cambridge Scholars, 2013) and Food Festivals and Local Development in Italy: A Viewpoint from Economic Anthropology (Palgrave, 2020). His researches in Kenya have been published in international journals such as Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Sciences, and the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. He is currently leading national and international projects concerning the development of the food and tourism sectors, such as "Food Drug Free" (European Regional Development Fund) and "The European Network for the Promotion of Culinary and Proximity Tourism in Rural Areas" (funded by the European Erasmus+ Fund).

Prof Fontefrancesco uses his research expertise to enrich thedelivery of both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching responsibilities. In his classes, he introduces students to the main themes of anthropology and supports them in their projects concerning socio-economic innovation and food heritage valorisation. Among his modules: Anthropology of Food (Bachelor’s program in Gastronomic Sciences and Cultures), Applied Anthropology for Sustainable Food Systems (Master’s program in Food Innovation & Management), and Creating High-Quality Products (Master’s program in Food Culture, Communication & Marketing).

Finally, Michele has had a diverse work exposure that has seen him serve as an Adjunct Professor of Italian at the University of Mary Washington (USA), Teaching Assistant at Durham University (UK) and currently an Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Gastronomic Sciences (Italy). He is quite passionate about collaborations with international institutions and to this end he is currently a Fellow of the Department of Anthropology at Durham University (UK) and an Associate Fellow of the City Diplomacy Lab at Columbia Global Centers in Paris (France).

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