The first ever staging of Ital Food Fest, a one-day celebration of Jamaican Ital cuisine and Rastafari’s role as pioneers of what has now become the global plant-based movement, is set for July 15, at the renowned Grizzly’s Plantation Cove in St Ann.
The event, which aimed at presenting the best of Ital livity and the promotion of Jamaica as a culinary destination, is also geared at attracting Reggae lovers, and persons from across the globe who are seeking uplifting cultural experiences, and promises to captivate visitors with its diverse line-up of performers, engaging workshops, and immersive culinary experiences.
With a mission to showcase the wonders of Jamaican cuisine and the island’s cultural significance, Ital Food Fest will comprise lectures and live food demonstrations at the Ital Food Lab stage, which will be conducted by world-reknowned Rastafarian chefs, led by the iconic Dr Aris Latham.
The festival will also showcase holistic practitioners, along with more than 150 vendors, selling elevated Ital cuisine, natural products, fashion, arts, and wellness practitioners offering healing treatments.
Ital Food Fest is the brainchild of UK-based, Portmore, St Catherine native Michael Cunningham and his wife Felicia, whose roots are in Darliston, Westmoreland.
According to Michael Cunningham, the event is not only about food, but also music, as the idea is to celebrate and educate, so that patrons leave nourished in mind, soul, spirit and body.
As such, IWayne, Agent Sasco, Sister Carol, Queen Ifrica, Jah Mason, Natural Black, and Warrior King are set to headline the stage show segment of the festival, will also feature upcoming acts Khalilah Rose, J’Adiore and Azalineage.
“I was born and bred in Portmore Jamaica, so the whole concept of Ital, has been something that we grew up with. We believe that food has the power to unite people and a plant-based diet can nourish both the body and soul. This event represents a culmination of my passion for Jamaican cuisine and a desire to share our rich culinary heritage with the world. It’s an opportunity to showcase Jamaica’s commitment to
sustainability, health, and wellness through the power of plant-based foods. Rastafarians have been living this lifestyle. Before vegan, before plant-based, there was I-tal,” Michael Cunningham said.
According to Felicia Cunningham, the artistes billed for the musical aspect of the event, were hand-picked, specifically because they truly embody ital livity.
“We were especially interested in having artistes on board who live that way, and who have farms… So it was very important for us to have artistes that understand the roots and culture,” she said.
In addition to the Ital food offerings, Ital Food Fest will feature a herbology stage, where prominent herbalists and wellness specialists, will conduct educational sessions on the use of herbs and plant-based remedies, to promote health and wellness, and enable patrons to discover new ways to incorporate these into their daily routines.
Partners of the event include Wellness Experience Jamaica, Conu’co Market, Taste Of Ital, Conscious Reggae Party and Save Soil Jamaica.
Ital Food Fest’s official launch will take place on Wednesday June 7, 2023 at the historic Devon House in Kingston.
Chef Troy, co-producer of Ital Food Fest, will curate the culinary aspect of the event, and is poised to awaken and stimulate invitees palates with his mouth-watering chickpea ackee entrée, Breadfruit Croquet, and other special preparations.
Additionally, the launch will see co-sponsor Ibbi Lion of Veggie Meals fame, working in collaboration
with Chef Troy and Kushites to deliver a elevated taste of Ital.
Reggae music is very much part of this health conscious festival, and so international reggae and Dancehall soperstars I-Wayne and Agent Sasco, will be performing live at the launch.