The theme this year for World Food Day is #ZeroHunger. This theme is about more than ending hunger, it is about thoughtful eating. Barbados is fortunate enough that most of our population has access to food, however the way we consume food is unsustainable. Our diets are made up of unhealthy foods that are damaging to the planet. While these issues may seem daunting to fix, every person has the power to make small changes to encourage a #ZeroHunger world. Here are a few things every Bajan can do to help the cause:
- Follow an Authority
In order to change our relationship with food we need to change the way we think about it. One way to do so is by following the examples set by people tackling the issues first hand. By following Instagram pages like @fao, the official page for The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, we gain access to thoughtful content which can better shape our understanding on what we can do. For a more local organization, try @SlowFoodBarbados on Instagram. They have relevant content specific to Barbados such as sustainable food guides.
- Go to the Market
Buying imported food that is heavily processed is not just bad for you, but bad for the planet. At a market you are more likely to support local farmers and get fresher produce. Eating healthy is expensive if you are buying imported kale that must be refrigerated over hundreds of miles. Whereas, it is much more affordable and lasts significantly longer if you buy it straight from a local farmer without unnecessary packaging. By making a trip to the market part of your weekly routine you are making a conscious decision to nourish yourself, the local economy and the planet. Saturday morning at Cheapside Market is one of the best places to get reasonable, fresh produce, however it isn’t the only option. Farmers’ Markets are becoming more popular for all types of artisanal products. Try visiting Hastings Farmers’ Market if you are on the South Coast, Holder’s House Farmers’ Market on the West Coast and Brighton Farmers’ Market in Central Barbados to see what fresh produce is available.
- Plant a Herb
Pick your favorite herb and get a plant of it at home. There is a misconception that growing plants is difficult. Taking care of a small herb may take away that stigma. Moving towards a #ZeroHunger world means that more food needs to be produced, however that isn’t just a job for the government or businesses. Every person is responsible for what they eat and many of us have the resources to grow some of our food. Having fresh herbs as a house plant is a great way to start. It is good for the environment, saves money and makes food better.
- Make a Healthy Dinner
One of the biggest food problems we have is that we are eating the wrong food. The majority of our diets are made up with processed food filled with calories but with very little nutritional value. Deciding to make a healthy dish actively solves this problem. People who decide to change to a healthy diet tend to overhaul all of their eating habits, which is difficult to do at once. Instead, start with just a healthy dinner. The meal itself does not need to be elaborate, it simply needs to be nutritious. Making small changes together, like using fresh produce from the market and homegrown herbs can lead to good habits that have a significant impact.
- Invite Someone Over
It can be someone going through a hard time that could use a good meal or just a friend. Food is a communal activity made to be shared and enjoyed in groups. Taking these steps to change your relationship with food can be strengthened by sharing it with others and may encourage them to do the same. One person making a change by themselves may seem insignificant, but a person can influence a community, which can snowball a movement. Taking time to share food with the people around you is the best way to ensure a hunger free world.
This World Food Day is about encouraging a healthy relationship with food. Making a conscious effort to change our food habits is the only way to achieve a #ZeroHunger World. All of these things may feel trivial but will lead to a more thoughtful relationship with food. Let’s take the time to do our part.
This article was originally published in Nation Newspaper Barbados. Pick up your copy today. Also, for more articles like this one check out www.nationnews.com.