Today is World Environment Day (WED). It happens every year on June 5. I can’t say I’ve ever been particularly engrossed by global days that celebrate a particular thing but today’s WED theme caught my eye… Think. Eat. Save.
In essence, this year’s WED wants to encourage people to think before they eat to help save the environment.
I’m not sure why I’ve always been passionate about food sustainability and issues pertaining to food security. Maybe it’s because I like to cook. Or maybe it’s because of the deep social and cultural aspects associated with food. Maybe it’s because growing food to feed us all is responsible for some of the largest environmental impacts on the planet. And because by 2050 we’ll have a few more billion mouths to feed.
Or maybe it’s because of the insane amount of food we waste everywhere in the world everyday whilst at the same time, millions of people struggle to find enough food to eat (if you want stats, look at the WED website or this Guardian article).
Maybe it’s because we can all relate to food, and in that sense it might provide a gateway to convincing more people to think about sustainability… starting with the food system but then tackling others too.
In my food sustainability crusade, I’ve come across a lot of projects, books, documentaries, people, what-have-you wanting to change the status quo. And I thought today, if any day, is a good day to share these for those who, like me, want to become a food fighter. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just some of the things that have inspired me…
- GrowUp: An aquaponic farm based in central London growing delicious greens & fish
- Lambeth Poly: The only certified food grower in Lambeth, re-skilling people to grow food and providing a local crop source for neighbouring restaurants
- Hackney City farm: Does what it says on the tin really…
- Cardboard to Caviar: Implementing a cradle-to-cradle approach to growing fish in an urban setting
- MindFood: Helping people with mental health issues by teaching them to grow and sell food, ‘food that’s good for your mood’
- Brixton People’s Kitchen: Using food that would otherwise go to waste to cook up feasts to feed the local community and bring people together
- Disco Soupe: Fighting food waste to a disco groove
- Rubies in the Rubble: Using discarded fruit and vegetables to make chutneys and jams
- Gleaning Network UK: Coordinating volunteers, farmers and charities to use the tonnes of fruit and vegetables that are usually un-harvested and thus wasted
The awareness raisers
- Dustbin Diners: Raising the profile of freeganism and tackling food waste
- Tristam Stuart: Author of Food Waste – Uncovering the Global Food Waste Scandal and general food waste guru, who also started Feeding the 500 – a project whereby 5000 people are fed on food that would have otherwise gone to waste
- Raj Patel: Author of Stuffed and Starved, looking at the food monopoly of giant corporations and the instrinsic failings of our current food system as the reason why, on our planet, there are 1 billion people who are stuffed (obese) and why there are one billion people who are starved (malnourished)
- Jonathan Safran Foer: Author of Eating Animals, exploring factory farming and the cultural meaning of food
- FarmDrop: An online shop allowing people to buy food directly from farmers through a community group
- Sustaination: A B2B food trade network ensuring resources are managed more efficiently to create a better food system
- PlanZheroes: Online tool to connect businesses which have surplus food with nearby charities that need it
My food fighter journey is nowhere near over. I plan on upgrading to being a green food ninja in the near future so stay tuned. And I’m always looking for more inspiration so if you have anything to share, please get in touch or leave a comment.