157 — Chido Govera—The Mushroom Queen of Zimbabwe

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A mushroom farmer, food activist, business entrepreneur, foster mother to more than a dozen girls—Chido Govera is a kitchen visionary in Zimbabwe—a pioneer in the cultivation of mushrooms throughout Africa and the world.

Chido was orphaned at 7 when her mother died of AIDS. As a girl, who never had enough to eat, she began cultivating mushrooms when she was nine. Some people look at a mushroom and see a mushroom. Chido looked at a mushroom and saw a weapon for social change, a path out of hunger and poverty to empowerment and income for herself and other orphaned girls.

The founder of The Future of Hope Foundation, Chido has promoted mushroom cultivation as a sustainable source of food and income in impoverished regions of the world.

We met Chido in Sao Paolo at FRUTO, an international gathering of chefs, farmers, activists, fishermen, Amazonian tribal women organizers, botanists and more—organized by Brazilian chef Alex Atala, famous from Netflix’s Chef’s Table. Speakers from around the world delved deep into issues of food, zero waste, the destruction of coastal waters, agriculture and climate change, the rights and foods of indigenous people of the Amazon. The conference was profound—a global eye opener.

Special thanks to Alex Atala, Felipe Ribenboim, Lars Williams and the NOMA community in Denmark.

The Kitchen Sisters Present is part of Radiotopia from PRX, a curated collection of podcasts from some of the best independent producers around.

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