It lasted 5 days (from 26th of August until the 1st of September), in charming Solaiolo, Italy.
15 participants were fueling their bodies with locally grown, homemade vegan food. Those delicious dishes were, for sure, of great help in learning, debating and discussing Global citizenship education, its goals and importance, while focusing on how the ethical nutrition and alimentation are part of it.
What resonated with me the most was the importance of socio-emotional learning, the significance of being able to recognize our own emotions, to define and validate them, as well as to connect them with their source. Causes and sources of our emotions are something that one can change, specially by raising awareness of it and taking actions.
In the frame of ethical nutrition, what causes negative emotions and potentially harmful actions toward all beings is the way in which western society is connected with basic fuel for humans; that is, with food. Food, groceries, supplements and addition to one’s diet are often controlled, monopolized and monetized by the big corporations. This causes some visible and palpable effects; for example, it is way cheaper to buy tomatoes in the supermarket. Those ones are ofttimes imported, treated with different preservatives and sold at a lower price than the tomatoes sold on farmers’ markets, which are often locally grown. Consuming locally grown food for a higher price many times is not a choice for an average person, mainly because there are cheaper options. But, behind those cheaper options, lies the competitive spirit of different food suppliers and their striving towards economic growth.
Neoliberalistic and capitalistic practices are continuously asking for more and more innovation and the food market is not spared of it. With the addition of slightly changed components and ingredients, food producing companies have a right to create more tempting marketing campaigns, which results in presenting the product as something that is really needed, that is way better for the health and lifestyle than the products which are currently in use.
Many of the foods and ingredients we consume share a deep colonial history, which necessarily includes free working force and slavery, conquesting of the Global South countries, together with ruining of native communities and their ways of living. Today, even though slavery is officially over, forms of it are preserved through food growing practices that are breaking numerous human rights, bringing minimum income to the “regular” workers while maximizing income to, as it is mentioned earlier, the food regulating companies.
To stop supporting harmful food growing and distribution practices, we are invited to be informed and critical of the information we have about certain products; that is, to analyze and question the information, to spread the knowledge about alternative food supplies, about power and meaning of gardening and local food exchange, of different agriculture types and reduction of the food waste.
By taking more care about the quality and quantity of the food we are consuming, about food waste reducing practices, about the ethics behind the food production and distribution, we are also taking care of our loved ones, of society and nature.
Being aware of the impact food production and distribution has on the environment, spreading that awareness and taking concrete actions when facing the injustices are essential in nurturing all Earths’ citizens.
Author: Matea Bučkal