African Harvest: First time foodie event celebrated food, farmers and 35 years of Farm Radio International

Chefs Andrée Riffou and Jeff Crump did live cooking demonstrations of Africa-inspired dishes for guests at African Harvest, held May 1, 2014, in Ottawa.

To celebrate 35 years of Farm Radio International, as well as the International Year of Family Farming, we recently held our first-ever “foodie” event: African Harvest.

On May 1, exactly 35 years to the day the first radio script package was mailed out in 1979, more than 150 people filled Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts in Ottawa to enjoy great Africa-inspired food, celebrate farmers and support Farm Radio International. The room was abuzz all night as  foodies and philanthropists mixed and mingled, many learning about Farm Radio International’s work for the first time.

The fundraiser brought together Chef Jeff Crump, acclaimed author of Earth to Table and executive chef of the Landmark Group, and Chef Andrée Riffou of Ottawa’s C’est Bon Cooking. The chefs shared their expertise through live cooking demonstrations, giving guests a sense of how to recreate the African Harvest menu at home.

The pair served up four fantastic small plates using secret ingredients that are traditionally grown and eaten in African countries.  Their creations included mango gazpacho, groundnut kuli kuli (peanut fritters) with goat’s milk sauce, tilapia and sweet potato fishcakes, and chicken stew. The meal ended on a sweet note with delicious cupcakes from Sarah J’s Cupcakes.

HallieThe event was hosted by Hallie Cotnam, host of CBC’s Ottawa Morning. Having grown up on a dairy farm with the radio always tuned in to CBC, Cotnam understands how important information is to farming. She shared her enthusiasm and dedication with guests from start to finish.

The sold-out event was a huge success, with many guests staying long into the evening to enjoy the samples of local wine and beer that accompanied the Africa-inspired dishes. African Harvest was a great way to celebrate 35 years of using radio to provide agricultural information to the farmers who need it most.

A big thanks goes out to the many sponsors from Ottawa and beyond who made the event possible by donating their time, goods and services. Because of the generosity of so many sponsors, African Harvest raised over $14,000 towards our work across Africa.

To view photos from our birthday celebration, check out our African Harvest Facebook album and this National Post Gatropost by Ottawa foodie Rutha Astravas. If you took photos at African Harvest, please share them with us by contacting

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