The Better food journey
Actionable ideas towards a world eating well
by Corinna Hawkes
Welcome to the Better Food Journey blog. It’s a blog about an issue I believe matters - matters for people and planet, for me and my neighbours, for you and your neighbours.
Eating better has the potential to make the world a much better place. Eating enough of the right kind of food enables babies and children to grow as they should, and helps adolescents and adults live in good health and fulfil their potential. Eating is a source of enjoyment, of pleasure, a source of celebration and community, of what we have in common. It’s a way of staying engaged with the earth that feeds us. Food is a vital part of our economy, providing jobs and supporting the livelihoods of millions of people who spend their days growing, gathering, harvesting, moving, processing or selling food. Food is also political, a means of helping us all figure out where we stand on the key issues facing the world today.
The problem is, the potential of food to make the world a better place is a long way from being realised. In some places, for sure, food is produced in a way that regenerates the land and supports nature and climate. For some people, eating is a source of good health, pleasure and wellbeing. For some communities, food is a source of cohesion and decent jobs.
And yet in most places, and for most people, this is far from the case. Eating practices too often mean people are undernourished or unhealthy. Producing, processing and distributing food eviscerates the environment. Labour in food systems is more exploitation than exaltation. For many, food is a source of stress, anxiety, conflict, pain - and death.
The gap between what is and what might be can be a source of despair. But it also prompts hope, especially considering the activity and passion out there already making a difference in all corners of the world. From the upper echelons of the United Nations to the bureaucratic backrooms of national and local governments, from the brains behind business start-ups and entrepreneurship to the innovations at the community level, stuff is happening. The innovations during COVID-19 to get nutritious foods to people show what can be done when it really matters. The point is: it matters every day. In this light, there is an understandable tendency to talk about the urgency of solutions. This is undeniably true. The clock is ticking on climate change; millions of kids go hungry everyday while others are in situations that make it too hard to eat the right kind of food. Farmers, businesses, and people working throughout the food system face precarious circumstances day in, day out.
But it can be so overwhelming. That’s why I try to see it as a journey.
In an ideal world we would all be eating healthily, nutritiously, and enjoyably. The food would be produced and processed from a thriving, engaged labour force in a way that regenerates and respects the earth and nature and supports local, national and global economic development. Urgent as attaining this vision is, it will take time, necessitating different communities of people connecting together around this vision, figuring out their roles and responsibilities to achieve it and taking the next step towards getting it done.
This is the journey – the better food journey.