Did you know that every time you make the decision to purchase something from a market vendor, community-run organic farm or independent food craftsman or woman, you are contributing to an alternative food system which commands three inherent benefits over conventional food channels such as supermarkets.
PEACE. An element of induced trust, sensibility and peace-of-mind is created between producer (who is the representative of the land and soil on which he is producing) and consumer when you have the opportunity to shake hands over the food being exchanged. What most producers, farmers and craftsmen have in common are their trials and tribulations. Making food is not easy, nor is it steeped in massive profits and fame. It requires huge investments of time, energy and resources (not to mention actual blood, sweat and tears). Understanding the parameters which these people deal with on a daily basis has a way of humanising our food environment in a way which conventional food outlets, where we only see the final result in all its perfectly packaged glory, could never do. We can’t all grow our own food (neither do we all want to), but we can choose how, where, and from whom, we source it. It is this sense of traceability which will ultimately satisfy our desire for a peaceful and conscious food landscape.
LOVE. Yes, you can actually eat love. In the same way that a good carpenter or builder chooses not to cut any corners within his trade and create something with the vision that it will last forever, I believe that a producers’ passion for what he or she is making or growing can be transferred to the end user who fully interprets this love when the food makes them feel full, happy and wholesome. In other words, love is the secret commitment felt and practiced by the producer himself when he or she decides, unconditionally, to make something in the healthiest and most sustainable way possible.
JOY. In the same way that a good chef can stir his patrons’ emotions, transport you to places you’ve never been before, and induce a sense of communal nostalgia among perfect strangers, so should we as consumers pursue greater value from the food we eat. If we consider the powerful impact of food on our wellbeing, and acknowledge the link between health and our level of joy, we will start to look at the way we eat as a vital ingredient for our happiness.