With every bite we take we affect the lives of people. That is how impactful your food choices are. The P for People urges you to understand, who are the people behind my food? Next? Consciously vote with your money.
Have you ever imagined the complex string of people involved in your food production? Who is really behind this box of breakfast cereals? Is it just a lone farmer, working unimaginable acres of corn, aided by powerful machinery? Or wait, who created the tractor, the pesticides, fertilizers and the seed? Who mined the earth for minerals, worked the food factory product lines, designed the logo, transported the goods… The list goes on. And, dare to question, how are these people supported and nurtured by this system?
The P for People invites you to connect to the person who’s involved in your next meal. Perhaps this starts by acknowledging the check out person in the busy supermarket, as you are paying for your groceries after a busy day of work. Can you feel gratitude for the student worker flipping burgers at your local fast-food joint? People is not just about honouring lofty organic farmers and eco-sustainable operations. It is about recognizing all the people involved in all of the world’s food supply.
But it goes deeper than just recognition. This is about using your power. The power of your money and the power of your voice.
Here’s an example. Let’s say the service is too slow in the ‘mom&pop’ Italian restaurant you’ve been going to ever since you were a child. Do you just give up on them, in favour of a well-organized restaurant chain? Perhaps the service is better and the food quality more consistent in this restaurant chain. But do you feel nurtured when you leave? Does convenience weigh up against connection? Here’s is where your power comes in. Speak up. Don’t politely shuffle out of the door only to never return. Sit down with the owner or operator of your local family business and ask them why things might be tough. Be honest about your customer experience and encourage them to improve! It is easy to blame corporate giants for crushing local businesses. It is hard for local business owners to face the reality that often these corporate giants do offer good quality service and products. It might be even harder for loyal customers to speak this inconvenient truth. BUT, (provided they are willing to change) it is through a more authentic connection between the people in the local food cycle that small businesses can improve and survive. Why is this important? They are the cornerstones of our communities. Beyond products and services, they offer us a sense of belonging. This is much harder to find at standardized franchises, although it is not impossible.