As we celebrate the 51st Earth Day, environmentalists are raising their voices against the practices that destroy the biodiversity and healthy ecosystems on this planet.
An agricultural and food revolution is needed, not only to feed the ever-growing population but to ensure that the farming practices are there to regenerate and rebuild soils.
A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself wrote Franklin Roosevelt. And how true that is today as football fields of ancient biodiversity are lost every second in the Amazon Rain Forest cleared for monocropping. The added use of chemical fertilisers ensure the ecosystems of inter-connected microorganisms that are the foundation structure of healthy soil is lost.
Tourism and events can have a vital, positive impact on this food revolution by sourcing produce for their events locally, redistributing any waste to food banks and feeding schemes. Food is an inherent part of a region’s culture and supporting local farmers is not only a way to grow strong social networks but also to highlight a region’s cultural cuisine.
Think of comfort food, that wonderful recipe meant to fill you up not only with nourishing ingredients but with the certain something extra. Comfort food means something different for each individual but what is commonly shared are the quality of the memories a meal cooked and served with love evokes. They are never to be forgotten and continually abundant.
My comfort food was made by my granny. She would take an entire day to slow cook a casserole and serve it with perfect vegetables. Her mindfully prepared whole wheat bread sandwiches would have my little fingers clutching on to the crusts savouring the texture of the buttery mashed egg.
Making wonderful food is a process akin to alchemy beginning with quality ingredients. For every recipe however there is the option to add a generous splash of a fundamental ingredient that is lacking fast food menus, food giants’ balance sheets and pro-GMO scientific reports. That ingredient is Love.
The food revolution is under way as growing awareness of the harm our current farming systems promote. There is a growing number of farmers who are putting their passion and care on a level equal to that of the myriad skills required to farm successfully. They are the unsung heroes who are recreating paths towards a more conscious relationship with food, the ones who eschew factory farming and violent chemical manipulation of their crops. These farmers are bringing to market produce that tastes heavenly because it is made with their love.
Closer to the cities there are food gardeners are actively growing healthy vegetables that can feed families living on the breadline. Food security is not a halcyon vision; community and environmental rehabilitation is all possible by growing vegetable gardens.
Our relationship with food is meant to be a nourishing, enlivening one. We are caught in an economic maelstrom of disproportionate imbalance – the scales have tipped. Food – like the weather – has become a topic of national and international significance. Historically the greatest revolutions have been born out of hunger. It need not be a repetitive pattern; the solutions are being practiced every day as more and more people begin growing their own produce. The tasty and nourishing reward is the beginning of a life-long, expansive love affair with food that can be trusted.
We invite all destination management organisations to step up, scale up and speed up a regenerative food revolution within their communities. Food has the potential to catalyse a city’s sustainability strategy, and to accelerate the regeneration of economic, social and natures ecosystems. It enriches lives and creates a unique sense of place and enhances a destination competitiveness
The economists and politicians and activists are arguing how to mitigate resource depletion, carbon emissions, mass population growth and environmental destruction. The focus on power and economic projections is all consuming. Natural capital is becoming a significant factor in realigning the true cost of our food and commerce. What is missing in the equations however is the only essential natural capital item that has the power to change a heart forever, able to inspire random acts of kindness and bring laughter to the most starved soul. As the arguments continue and solutions for food security in a changing climate are sought at the foundation of all of it is the productivity of the food chain and the seven billion people who need to be fed.