A huge helping of humankind

Are we agreed that the world of food has a few problems on its plate πŸŒπŸ½οΈπŸ€”?

My deep dives into the roots of these problems, rather inevitably, lead back to the not-altogether positive role humans have historically played.

No great surprise perhaps, looking back to before the 16th Century spice trade, the U.K.’s West Country fishermen harvested the Cod stocks of Iceland and Newfoundland, and the rest is, well, food history 🐟

In my house, if you make a mess, you clear it up and, ideally, find a better way next time πŸ˜‡

In this vein, if we are to produce food that gives ourselves, our children, the planet, and all its inhabitants, a great future, it's incumbent on us to build more positive food systems πŸ₯•βœ…

For me, the philosophies of Humanism have great relevance. Leaving aside the religious context, I see the humanist principles of egalitarianism, responsibility, ingenuity, and the scientific method, present us humans with the best possible foundation on which to build a holistically good food future* 🧱πŸ₯•

There are many in the food community deploying immense ingenuity to do just this; from plot to plate, the innovation in the food industry is awe-inspiring πŸ’‘πŸ€©

And, everyday folk are impacting their worlds with huge helpings of human kindness; their stories are equally awesome 🫢🏼

This drew me to this article, Humankind, by Amy Rose, content creator for Future Crunch. The stories of everyday folk, and the impact they have had on the communities around them, make for a great and inspiring read πŸ“–πŸ™Œ

The 100 stories of human kindness in this article are rooted in the 2020 Covid lockdown, and are around many aspects of life. Here, I’ve extracted the stories around people and food πŸ‘¬πŸ‘­πŸ½οΈ

98 of the stories provide a poignant antidote to celebrity culture; just two come from better-known names, and they are both food-related.

➑️ The first of these is footballer Marcus Rashford, who, alongside charities and other parties, won a food fight with the U.K. Government to extend free school meals to children from low-income families across the lockdown school holidays. Ultimately, this led to the provision of over Β£400M over 12 months to support these families πŸ‘

➑️ And Chef JosΓ© AndrΓ©s, who is recognised for feeding people in the wake of disaster, war, and famine. Through his organisation, World Central Kitchen, Chef AndrΓ©s has supplied hundreds of millions of meals to those in need, with his philosophy of feed first, plan later. Ron Howard's documentary We Feed People on Disney+, about the chef's mission, is an excellent watch πŸ‘

➑️ Back to the mere mortals and the source of life, Sisters Magdalena and Marcela Machaca built reservoirs in the Andes in Peru to β€˜cultivate’ rainwater. They tended to the water as a spiritual and musical practice, and their dedication has protected tens of thousands from water shortages. β€˜We sing to the water and talk to it,’ explains Magdalena. β€˜We are nature, we are part of her.’ Now, that’s a gig I’d love to go to! πŸ‘πŸ‘

➑️ The stories of Doramire Moreau, a janitor from Miami, who, despite the limitations of her small kitchen, prepared a thousand meals a week for the homeless. And Ang Phurba Sherpa, a trekking guide in Nepal who donated food staples to hundreds of Sherpa families in Kathmandu when their day jobs receded much like the glaciers they previously trod daily πŸ‘πŸ‘

➑️ At an age when most people hang up their shoes, Linda Twala, the 76-year-old father of Alexandra Township in Johannesburg, became an unstoppable force, opening his doors and leading the charge to get food and support to the hungry and the homeless πŸ‘

➑️ And, when a disabled girl offered to share her food scraps with him, Daniel Kasprowicz, a young Polish dietician who had travelled to Madagascar to complete his university thesis, put down his books and picked up a mission to save starving children on the island πŸ‘πŸ‘

➑️ To Noran Sanford, a social worker in North Carolina, who is using a grassroots approach to keeping juvenile offenders out of the correctional system by engaging them to flip decommissioned prisons into sustainable farms and teaming them up with members of their local community πŸ‘

➑️ And last but not least, the lovely story of rehabilitating animals from the late Dame Daphne Sheldrick, who developed a special milk formula from pantry ingredients to feed orphaned newborn elephants and had a significant impact on elephant populations worldwide πŸ˜πŸ‘

Alongside these stories of food kindness, the Future Crunch article includes another 91 across other aspects of life, all-in-all they add up to a huge helping of humankind 🫢🏼

For me, content like this is super-important; a better food future is, to some degree, about the everyday actions we humans take, and these stories from the grassroots are a great inspiration. They have certainly made me think what I could do in my world of food that would have a positive impact like this? πŸ½οΈπŸ€”

All credit to Amy Rose and Future Crunch, for an awesome piece of work πŸ™Œ

*The food world needs maximum shared purpose right now 🀝. I also believe, without reference to religion, humanist principles present a simple, unifying foundation to the complex, disparate conversations around the future of food. More on this in a blog piece to follow.

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