The Power of Food

Well, this is perhaps the penultimate post during my month-long food challenge – the last day I feel is going to be a bit of an anticlimax as I’m at a conference in Woking, so I’ll be miles away from all the lovely local food I could be eating! However, over the weekend I’m intending to summarise and reflect on the past month and what I’ve learnt. The last few days have really focussed my mind on the power of food to engage, inspire and unite people. Last night the Transition Clevedon group organised a meeting with a speaker on the subject of Peak Oil- and it was an immensely informative and powerful talk (thanks Paul!), yet it was basically preaching to the few people already converted.    

 In contrast, today I was asked to go to the Radio Bristol studios for the second time to talk about eating local food, and then I was asked back to talk again in December – and there’s no way I would consider myself to be a particularly knowledgeable or dynamic speaker. Somehow, food is an easier and more immediate topic for people to relate to, rather than climate change or peak oil which maybe too big or distant, and yet the whole food industry is hugely dependent on the availability of cheap oil. Somehow I feel it may be easier to get the message across through the easier option of food than through the more hard-hitting less palatable subject of oil wars. 

 There’s so much in the papers and in the news at the moment about these harder issues, but somehow the awareness of how it will affect people in the long term hasn’t hit home. Today a report was released showing that billions of people are at risk of water insecurity http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11435522

 The analysis is a global snapshot, and the research team suggests more people are likely to encounter more severe stress on their water supply in the coming decades, as the climate changes and the human population continues to grow. 

 What I found particularly startling is the view that the North American and Western European water supplies are under huge stress, and yet I doubt very much that the issue will reach the consciousness of most people in those areas.  However, the immediate interest in ‘what’s for dinner?’ might be the way to softly engage, an army marches on its stomach after all.

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