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The Perfect Serve


The Sorghum Agenda with Queen Finxa

The Sorghum Agenda
While Vogue and much of the West call it the new quinoa, Queen Finxa and the 500 million people to whom sorghum is a dietary staple would beg to differ. Sorghum, a grain indigenous to Africa, has been around for centuries. If anything, the reverse should ring true, Quinoa is the new sorghum, or at least it wishes it was. While the two may have an almost similar nutrient and flavour profile, sorghum rises head and shoulders above, packing 3.4grams of fibre per ¼ cup, while quinoa contains none. It not only surpasses quinoa but many other grains for nutrient density.
Queen Finxa, a Consumer Scientist, chef and recipe developer, is well acquainted with sorghum and all it has to offer. The brilliance of the grain inspired the iconic Sorghum Agenda, a passion project that, at its core, is simply about getting more people to embrace the grain. According to Queen, sorghum is just the beginning, “It starts with sorghum, and then we slowly bring more awareness to the vast rainbow of indigenous grains found within our African soil. To have people embrace African Indigenous grains more and for our culinary contributions to matter. For our food to matter. For our voice to matter. And this, I hope, will end with institutions such as retail and academia embracing our food and giving it better access. Can you imagine how much our communities will benefit from not only seeing themselves reflected on the shelves but also seeing their food not simply regarded as an afterthought?”
Did you Know
Just ½ a cup of sorghum perfectly serves up 37% daily value (DV) of magnesium, 18% DV of iron, 25% DV of vitamin B6, and 30% DV of copper, in addition to the significant amounts of zinc, potassium, phosphorus and thiamine.

Despite being a staple in more than 30 countries worldwide, the general perception is that its consumption is reserved for lower-income households. Completely and irreverently neglecting the memories so well ingrained of fermented porridge, known in Setswana as mabele a ting cooking away on a stovetop somewhere as the pungent scent makes known what’s on the menu. This perception is what really kicked the Sorghum Agenda into gear; while pursuing their Consumer Science studies at the University of Pretoria, Queen was awarded the prize for the most innovative and creative product when they chose sorghum as the hero ingredient for their Recipe Development module. “I realised how little exposure the food I considered a staple had. And when it did? It was looked down upon as poverty food or discarded as animal feed”.

Traditionally, sorghum is widely enjoyed finely ground as sorghum meal and served in African homes as stiff and soft porridge. But Queen Finxa, through the Sorghum Agenda and brands such as Local Village Foods, have shown that with this holy grail grain, the possibilities are truly endless! Sorghum grain salads? Check! Buddha bowls featuring sorghum? Check! Sorghum flour pancakes? Check! Sorghum… cookies? Check! And that’s not all. Some of Queen’s creations include sorghum bread, biscuits, muffins and brownies. 

Regarding access, spotting sorghum flour and the whole grain is not as easy as walking into your local corner grocery store. Still, Queen credits brands such as Local Village Foods for being instrumental in making these products available. “The brand, like myself, is devoted to creating agricultural connections across the continent to supply sustainably grown indigenous African ingredients that go beyond just sorghum.” 

The existence of platforms like the Sorghum Agenda and businesses like Local Village Foods is essential to preventing the erasure of the food that is at the essence of our core as Africans. Seeing authentic African cuisine not relegated to poverty food or perceived in economic terms as an inferior good. And certainly not waiting for the Vogue’s of the world to give us permission to celebrate it. So, while quinoa is great, on your next shopping trip reach for sorghum instead. It’s delicious, it’s nutritious, and it’s authentically African.

Founder of the Sorghum Agenda, Queen Finxa is a 27-year-old chef, consumer scientist and recipe developer based in Cape Town, South Africa. A recipient of the Secret Ingredient Award at the 2022 Food XX Women in Food Awards for her incredible work through the Sorghum Agenda.

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