How did you find your way to the regenerative food side of social justice work?
That’s a great question! Food is at the core of building social justice. Whenever there is a major crisis like an economic collapse, the first thing you see is a lack of access to food, bad nutrition or starvation in certain places. We overlook food both as a cause of social injustice and as a solution. Food unites us. Every human – regardless of color, race, religion – needs to eat.
I found my way to regenerative food quickly after I had my first child. I was shocked that the system discouraged me from breastfeeding my son. I could see that everything was set up to have me avoid breastfeeding, and to steal from him his right to be nursed. I quickly became aware of the injustice that was driving that industry. And I became an activist for breastfeeding, which was closely connected to my background in ecofeminism. I then started looking at my own relationship with food and saw that it was also a source of injustice. And so started my journey into regenerative food.
What does regenerative food mean for you?
At Be the Earth Foundation, you’re strong believers of food being a tool for creating change. Just how powerful is that tool?
When we talk about food, we are talking about a massive tool for addressing various problems of the world today. And this is a holistic system. If we would commit as humankind to produce food in a regenerative way, i.e. not destroying our natural resources, this would be our bridge to the future.
But let’s pretend that we don’t care about climate change or extinction, but we only care about health. If we were to eat nutritional food, planted in nutritional soil with agriecological techniques our health would be better, we would develop less diseases and we would live longer.
Or let’s pretend we don’t care about climate or health and we’re only concerned with minding our spirituality. Food is how we as humans are connected to mother earth. It’s basically her nursing us forever. Food nourishes us, it keeps us alive, and it is a tool to prevent us from ruining our possibilities of a future on earth.
Has the global pandemic changed Be The Earth’s vision for the future in any way?
Everyone that is an environmentalist or a social activist knew that this was coming. It is very hard and very sad, but this pandemic is not surprising.
Be The Earth is just two years old as a foundation, but everyone in the team already had been working with the idea of adaptation. The future requires us to be adaptable, to dance according to the song that’s playing, to respond to the needs of life. And we have been practicing.
So did Covid change our plans? Not really, and definitely not our vision. But of course we had to shift all our work that was previously on-the-ground to the digital world. The pandemic has proven that we’ll dive deep into highly complex situations and show up every day for something that is meaningful.
What are the top three ways people can support more regenerative food systems?
- Abandon harmful habits. We have this tendency of cultivating habits that are harmful for ourselves, the people around us, and the world. We have to start committing to abandoning harmful habits. From smoking to using a car for small daily trips.
- Replace harmful habits with new ones. We can make healthier choices. There’s 50,000 shades of colours in between black and white, in between doing nothing and being perfect. Select a new achievable habit to replace the harmful one with and commit.
- Plan to adapt. Changing your habits is an ongoing process. It’s just not possible to save the world from one day to the next as change is ongoing. What’s important is showing up every day with the commitment to improve food systems.