NoDa Drinks and Thinks about Kenyan Food and Sustainability: From Ecoturism to Permaturism


What does food mean for different people? How can we envision a better food system, in which we can all access what we need and what matters to us?

Charlotte’s Chef Kabui has thought a lot about these questions. His recent trip to Kenya, his homeland, highlights the potential for what he calls Afro Futuristic Conscious Cuisine. Chef Kabui’s work is driven by what he calls Permaculinary, a decolonized approach to food which considers the historical, cultural, and environmental components—along with the issues of justice and power—that underlie our food consumption. Chef Kabui devotes part of his time to promote his ideology and practices in Kenya. There he has set up several sustainable farms and an upcoming Food Academy where the practices of Permaculinary will be taught.

Please join the Back in the Day committee and Chef Kabui on Thursday, April 25, at 6:00pm at the Evening Muse for a lively discussion about food, community, and sustainability. This event will definitely give you something tasty to chew on.… (Yes, there will be food.)

About the speaker:

Njathi Kabui was born in a small village on the slopes of Mount Kenya. He spent his first ten years assisting his mother at the family farm while also attending the local village school. He later moved to Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, where his father owned and operated a restaurant. Kabui moved to the United States to attend college on a scholarship at LeMoyne Owens College where he majored in Political Science and Philosophy. He later attended graduate school at the University of Memphis where he graduated with dual master’s degrees in Medical Anthropology and Urban Anthropology. After working in the food movement for a few years, he enrolled in a culinary program at the Center of Green Studies in North Carolina. His work is greatly inspired by his experience in the village and his parents, both of whom were deeply involved in the Kenyan independence movement, a struggle for civil rights against British colonialism; his father spent six years in the detention for his activities.

Chef Kabui now works as an indigenous chef, author, urban farmer, food consultant, and food activist. He is also a speaker and social commentator across various media platforms like Public Radio, podcasts, and even magazines. He has worked with major universities including Duke University, University of Michigan, Kalamazoo, and Rutgers University, both as a speaker and a consultant. Recently, he helped the University of Michigan institute a Global Chefs Program featuring a series of ethnic chefs providing food through multiple campus locations, serving 27,000 students each day. He also kicked off the series by being the first featured chef.

NoDa Drinks and Thinks is a great way to stretch your thinking muscles in the comfort a neighborhood bar. The event is part of a series to help bring back the lost arts of conversation and dialogue. Salon-style discussions take place in a casual environment and promote creative thoughts and knowledge-sharing. It’s kind of like watching a really cool documentary on TV … only you’re in it. And there’s a bar!

Drinks and Thinks is free and open to the public. For more information, contact backintheday@noda.org.