Yes, I certainly think food is important in that it´s tasty and I want some for dinner soon. But this post is about food´s importance from a more philosophical perspective. Yesterday, we gathered upstairs at Finca Magdalena on a breezy porch with views of the volcano. Our purpose: to discuss our purpose. We ended up mostly talking about food, and making some really interesting points. We talked about how food was a major connecting thread in the partnership between OSCA and the UNAG. OSCA is so much about providing its members with nutritious and tasty meals. The loan fund in the UNAG helps women buy what they need to farm, so they can produce enough to feed themselves. Food is something that connects to everything in life. As we saw a Finca Bona Fide, a permaculture farm, food is about the environment. Bona Fide used a lot of methods I thought were really innovative, in combining plants that promoted each other´s growth. However, as the farm´s founder pointed out, it was not really innovative, but intuitive. On the farm, they were relearning to grow food according to the methods nature has always used.
Another facet of food is community and dignity. We see over and over how important food sovereignty is to people´s quality of life. The co-op members at Finca Magdalena have the opportunity to improve their lives by growing their own food, in addition to the coffee they sell. The Finca Bona Fide hopes to reach out more and more to the surrounding community, with programs such as seed exchanges and community gardens. The more people can be in control of producing their own food, the more secure and consistent their access to nutrition will be.
Additionally, we thought a lot about food as a human right, rather than as a commodity. So many U.S. policies are making food into something to be sold for the highest possible profit to the companies. Things like CAFTA undermine the idea that everyone has the right to be nourished. Instead of getting discouraged about this, we looked to exciting ideas like urban gardening and cooperatives as ways for people to get closer to their food, and regain the control that seems to be slipping away.
Happy eating and thinking!