We Are What We Eat

It surprises some people that Cyrenians is at the table contributing to the National Food Policy development. We were invited to help puzzle out how to reduce inequality of access to good food for people on the margins.

Well, being homeless is about as excluded as you can get and our ten-year old mission to develop Good Food in Tackling Homelessness has informed and inspired changed thinking and practice in Scotland more than any other initiative of its type I can think of. Where there were depressing, shuffling soup kitchen lines in Edinburgh there are now decent eateries, offering not just better food but also respect to customers, and there is much more provision of opportunities for people to learn to enjoy good food as part of building up their lives.

I attended the National Food Conference – Tomorrow’s Menu – at the very grand EICC a couple of week’s ago and left disturbed by the disconnection between the appalling information we were being fed and lack of urgency and investment to do something about it: the huge public heath crisis associated with over-eating, the unsustainability of our consumption patterns, the ever growing inequalities in Scotland, let alone globally.

It’s a similar feeling to my utter disbelief that we (humanity) are not doing everything in our power to prevent the suicidal degradation of our planet/home.

Regarding these big issues my personal anti-depressant is working for Cyrenians. Relative to even little Scotland’s food challenge, what the Good Food programme is achieving is but a pea on the plate. But lots of peas can make a meal and lots of small change can add up real change.

The pictures here are from Peter Menzel’s collection on ‘What the World Eats,’ graphically demonstrating a family’s the weekly diet in different countries. The top picture is the Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp, Chad, the lower the Bainton family from Wiltshire.

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