How can you be more honest with food?

Annemarie continues her search for life based on the enough principle. We live structurally too much, and so does how we handle our food. How can you be more honest with food?

That in the Netherlands about nine percent of all food is thrown out every year, ie about 34 kilos (!) Of food per person, is in one word: shocking. Especially when one realizes that every minute about eleven people die of malnutrition. And did you know that a tiny country like the Netherlands (after the United States) is the second largest agricultural exporter in the world. It is therefore no wonder that the time we have spent our natural resources for the year (aka Earth Overshoot Day) will be earlier in the year, this year even April 12th. This means that we are hitting the remaining 265 living too much for days and that other inhabitants of the world are paying the price for this.

Those are disturbing numbers. Good to get through, but … numbers, no matter how shocking they are, do not necessarily get you started. The last thing I intend to do with this series of blogs is to scare you. Moreover, I think more and more people have long ago realized that there is something fundamentally wrong with our system, and in this case our food system. And that many are therefore also looking for a more sustainable lifestyle. The problem with many facts is that it can kill you because you do not know exactly what to do about it. The antidote therefore offers action perspectives. What can you do now? I have two beautiful inspiring examples for you that show that it is possible to handle food differently than an idea of ​​enough!

spare food

The first comes from Miriam Jongeneel. She lives with her husband and son in the housing group ‘Huize Humus’ in Nieuwegein. In this housing group, which has been around for ten years, nutrition and sustainability have been important from the start. Miriam: ‘It’s like clothes with food. There are already enough. So why should we go to the store to buy food when profits are being thrown out? In our housing group, we therefore eat as much food as possible that is ‘left over’. Until a year or two ago we did ‘dumpster diving’, we searched in rubbish bins in big supermarkets to save discarded food. We now have agreements with a supermarket and a wholesaler of fruit and vegetables that provide us with leftover food, so that it is no longer necessary to dive into the bins. ‘

It can be a little dirty idea for people to eat food that is discarded. For Miriam, though, there is nothing crazy about it. ‘I grew up in a family where we did not have much to spend. When I was out of the house, my parents welcomed refugee families. These families have the right to food from the food bank, but due to the cultural difference did not enjoy everything. My dad conjures up delicious dishes from here again. So I’m really not used to anything other than appreciating the food you get, even though the supermarkets do not consider it salable anymore. You have to think differently about food, Miriam explains. ‘Where one often usually thinks; What do I want to eat? your meal is now determined by what you get. And it requires creativity. Like back then we got 5 cauliflower. A roommate then decided to come up with a three-course dinner where each dish was something with cauliflower, haha! ‘

Share profit

And then a special mechanism starts that reminds me a little bit of the biblical story of the five loaves and the two fish. The housing group gets so much food that they cannot eat it alone. Therefore, there is a cupboard in front of the door in which they again share their ‘profits’. “We now know some locals who are in desperate need of this food,” says Miriam. “They can hardly make ends meet, because they just fall between two stools in relation to events. They are already waiting on Monday night when we fill the cupboard with food ‘.

For Miriam, it is actually only logical to treat food this way. ‘I understand that not everyone can live this way or have time to save so much food. But we as a housing group can do that. I am motivated to do this because God created this world. He is our creator and we really should take better care of the earth. ‘

Who are the creators?

But what if we change something not only at the back but at the forefront of the food production chain? Would we then also have smaller profits? It’s no secret that much of our food in the Netherlands is way too cheap. All this inhibiting with cheap food is due to the supremacy of the supermarkets. Isn’t that nice? can be said as a consumer. What’s the problem? Well, that someone pays the bill for your great deals … And that’s exactly why Maurice van der Spek started the platform Maurice is a journalist and he is curious about who is behind our food. Who ensures I can eat mushrooms or drink milk?

Someone pays the bill for your great deals …

“Some years ago I was touched by a passage in Isaiah 58 where God does not answer the prayers of His people. And then it says as an explanation that God gives: ‘… for on your fasting days you still act and torment your workers† Especially the last sentence caught my attention. When I shop, I fill my basket in the supermarket. I do not have to think about which workers are behind my products. But you only need to google and the stories of exploitation are there to receive. The easiest way, of course, is not to dive into it and to score a nice discount. But I think we have a responsibility that also speaks from that part of Isaiah. The moment you start talking to the manufacturer, you start to appreciate the product much more, whether it is a bowl of mushrooms or a carton of milk. As a result, you’re also more willing to pay a fair price that does justice to the manufacturer’s efforts. ‘

Reasonable price

Maurice also knows that it is sometimes a battle against the beer quay. ‘We often decide with our wallet and don’t think about it twice. But the price of our food in Holland is absurdly low. That’s really not true. I hope that through my platform I will challenge people to enter into dialogue with farmers and growers themselves. Examine how much it costs to make a product and compare it to what you pay for it in the supermarket. And how is this money then distributed in the chain? And then make more conscious choices in the supermarket. By buying organic products, for example, you are already much closer to a fair price for the manufacturer. This is because this price is more often determined by supply and demand, unlike many common products where it is the supermarket that ‘imposes’ a price on the producers.’

Deep down, this requires nothing less than a change of heart, Maurice concludes. ‘When it comes down to it, which one should I choose? In the case of food, this question is very concrete and tangible. If I pay a more reasonable price to the manufacturer, I have less money to spend on other things. So this choice has real consequences. ‘

Do you know more?

Check out the website with stories about the producers

Or watch this fun and inspiring TED talk with three tips for handling food differently.

And did you know that you can very easily save food from the trash can via Too Good To Go, or via Foodello?

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