People in our communities are hungry. Too often there isn’t enough food at home and when there is it isn’t very nutritious. We can’t talk politics or do work in our community when we are hungry. And yet, we often treat food as secondary when we organise for change.
Food is a basic right and at the heart of how we build and sustain relationships in our families and communities. When we welcome good news, when we open up our homes, when we celebrate achievements, or pay our respects we do it around a shared meal. We can nourish ourselves as we nourish those around us when we recognise that making and sharing food is a political act.
We can place food at the heart of how we build relationships of solidarity and trust across the community. Food can be a powerful mechanism to bring communities together across divides and promote a healthier, more nourishing diet and a more sustainable relationship with animals and the environment.
- Ensure making food is part of the programme and not a side activity. Too often the main programme goes ahead while some people are cooking behind the scenes. If we are to eat together then we should try to cook together too.
- Encourage everyone to bring and share food from home at meetings and events. For smaller meetings, events and actions we don’t always have to cater if everybody brings what they have left over at home. There is always enough to go around.
- Crowdsource ingredients for meals. Share a list beforehand of what you need. Most people, even on low incomes, can contribute some onions or a bag of rice.
- We don’t need to shop every time. Rice, potatoes, and other basics can be donated and kept for the future. Many supporters want to know how to contribute. Donating food is an excellent way to get involved.
- Partner up with local gardens and farms. Encourage everyone to grow food to contribute.
- Share the burden. Too often women end up cooking and cleaning. Everybody can contribute, even if it means peeling or scraping dishes.
- Reuse. It’s not sustainable and too expensive to buy take away containers and cutlery. Have a stock of old plates and cups that can be washed and reused or ask everybody to bring their own utensils and plates and take them home to wash.
- We have many different food cultures in Cape Town. Food can bring different people together, but it can also divide. Welcome and promote different food cultures and help everyone across race and class divides better understand why people eat particular foods and create opportunities to learn how they are made.
- We can encourage everyone to try new, more sustainable and nourishing food cultures that include more vegetables and less meat. Vegetarian food is often the cheapest and most widely eaten food that everybody can share across religions. It helps to talk about this and foster a culture of appreciation for vegetarian food as the most inclusive. If there is meat, make sure that it is from a halaal or kosher source where appropriate.
- Incubate food co-operatives to manage production and even cater for mass events while training young organisers in these skills in our community.