We live in a world that is undoubtedly obsessed with food. It’s a world of privilege. I’ve spent a large portion of my adult life living in developing nations and I can tell with with no shadow of a doubt that these conversations aren’t being had there. In those countries people are thankful if they have food on the table for their family after a hard day of manual labour. They aren’t arguing and whining over which super food is the best for them or ordering freeze dried blueberries from the other side of the world and demanding they are sent express post.
But if you are lucky enough (as we are) to be one of those people who live in a state of absolute privilege where we actually get to spend some of our time and energy deciding what sort of food we feed our families. We get to choose different eating styles, we get to be selective about what we put in our own bodies and what we give to our children. We get that unbelievable privilege of choice. A privilege that many people here in this country, and in other countries all around the world, are not afforded. If you have ever stepped foot in a food bank, or worked with underprivileged people in your communities you will quickly see that the privilege that we take for granted – is not for everyone.
Of course WHAT we eat is important. WHY we eat it is important to. But HOW we go about doing it… it counts. How do we take the privilege we have and do the least damage to our communities, to our countries, to our planet? How do we go about eating food that is good for us, reducing environmental impact and not behaving like a total over privileged asshole in the meantime.
- Eat mostly plants. And if you can, Grow Your Own. Eating primarily vegetables is one of the best ways to reduce environmental impact, to improve your health and to improve the health of your family. It’s a no brainer. Despite what the big businesses may like to tell us about growing our own vegetables (cheers Bridges and Woolies) it’s one of the most powerful things we can do as a stand against what is becoming a very capitalist food system. Growing your own vegetables doesn’t just save you money, but it helps to create a glut which you can then share or swap with your community – building stronger ties locally, sharing the skills and making true grass roots change where it matters most.
- Eat Seasonally. Eat produce that is grown as locally as possible and you will always be eating with the seasons. The beautiful thing about summer fruit is that summer fruit is only available in summer. If we were to eat peaches all year ’round maybe they would lose that special something. We are so spoiled when it comes to food. Eating seasonally not only makes sense for the planet it also brings a bit of excitement back to into food (my three year old is still excitedly anticipating ‘grape’ season here).
- Don’t waste. Do whatever you need to do to stop wasting food. Whether it be meal planning or composting or getting chooks or not buying so much ‘extra’ every time you go to the store. Share your excess and whatever you do – don’t just throw it in the bin.
- Compost. Always compost you scraps. It’s good for your garden. It’s good for the planet. And it’s really good for your hip pocket.
- Shop Local. Farmers markets, small local businesses, community supported agriculture and co-ops are great options for eating local. Not only will you be supporting your community economy, growing your community networks you will be eating fresher ingredients without the food miles. Together we can start breaking down some of the barriers in our neighbourhoods – making local, healthy food accessible for everyone.
There is one final thing that I would encourage each and every one of us to do (and trust me I have to check myself on it all the time) – however you choose to eat, whatever food trend or diet you choose to prescribe to, whether your vegan or gluten free or sugar free or vegetarian or whatever – remember that for most of us, it is a choice that many people in the world do not have the privilege of making. Stop judging other people for making different choices. How can we ever be strong together if we judge each other on things that are so personal. How can we ever grow together if we judge other people for choices they may not even be making themselves.
We have the power to change the ‘how’ when it comes to food. We have the power to transform our communities and to raise the children in our neighbourhood to be given the best chance going forward. Together, without judgement.