I recently read an article on the Huffington Post by blogger Anna Brones, “Why Caring About Food Isn’t an Option, It’s a Responsibility”. Brones discusses whether our heightened awareness of food through social media such as Instagram and blogging has improved global food prejudices. Her summarised answer is that while social food discussions are not fixing our problems with obesity, poverty and food supply, in the very least it shows that people are thinking about what they’re eating. She ends with the call to action that we should make the most of the trending discussions on food and use it to create positive social change.
This got me thinking about my own blog. Should I be feeling guilty about my gluttonous articles and my shallow desires to seek the best eats around the world? I’ve ranted about the Venezuelan government’s propaganda treatment of food products – does that make me an activist or a “slacktivist”? I can complain about the terrible state of convenience foods and obesity in the UK from my travels, but what on Earth can I do about it?
Perhaps activism is the wrong word and the wrong way to think about Brone’s article. Activism seems to be a word that makes me feel like I can never do good enough.
So, this is what I propose – my own interpretation to responsible food loving:
Eat. Learn. Talk.
Continue to love food, continue to take pleasure in eating at your favourite restaurants, appreciating the skills of top chefs and top produce. Create the demand for local quality food and lessen the demand for mass produced junk food. Dictate consumer spending with your fork and tastebuds.
We have the interwebs – the power-that-be that gives us lots of free information to questions such as “how fair is fair trade?” and “what the heck is chicha?” (a corn-based beverage). Prejudice can be defined by ignorance. Don’t be ignorant towards different food cultures. Don’t be ignorant towards food supply. Know what you’re eating.
Converse not preach. Blog, take photos, share your eating experiences. Cook with your friends, inform them of interesting food facts, rave about that weird thing you ate on your travels. Conversations partnered with knowledge are powerful.
I’m going to leave you now with some interesting videos of other people around the world who are also eating, learning and talking to drive societal change simply through an everyday love of food.
A cool lady (with a nice sense of humour) telling us how simple it is to inspire by planting food in unused plots of land in her own town.
This dude went to a lot of effort digging through bins behind supermarkets to bring us data about food wastage. He goes on remind us that our buying power is important to influencing responsible food supply.