Our Food Philosophy: Is it Good, is it Sustainable, is it Uplifting?

| Tamlin Wightman

“So much about life in a global economy feels as though it has passed beyond the individual’s control – what happens to our jobs, to the prices at the gas station, to the vote in the legislature. But somehow food still feels a little different. We can still decide, every day, what we’re going to put into our bodies, what sort of food chain we want to participate in. We can, in other words, reject the industrial omelet on offer and decide to eat another.” ~ Michael Pollan

When it comes to anything in life, we like to consider three things: is it good, is it sustainable, is it uplifting? Food is one sphere where these criteria are particularly important, but it’s just as applicable to relationships, life choices, consumption, conversations…

In terms of food, goodness equates health, pride, love and togetherness in terms of how the dish is prepared and presented and enjoyed.

“Is it sustainable?” means is it as kind as possible to the earth, locally-sourced, humanely-treated, ethically-grown, not over-consumed, and organic?

“Is it uplifting?” means is it empowering people, is it inspiring something in the diner, is it telling a story and feeding heart, soul, body and mind?

When it comes to our fresh produce, our vegetables and herbs and fruits, the smell and taste of the earth is strong, because they are grown from cared-for gardens on the Zambezi’s banks. In our own soil and with the water we humbly gaze over each day. You can taste the difference in our tomatoes, impwa and kalembula…

For our chickens and eggs, we have created a space for the hens and roosters to live out healthy, stress and hormone-free, free-range lives, because we believe it makes a difference to the final product, but also because it’s more humane. We appreciate them so much more because we live beside them, tend to them with our own hands.

When the source of our produce is removed from us, we forget the animal heart at stake and we tend toward overindulgence and mindlessness. When we immerse ourselves in the process though, we can connect to the food we eat and honour the life given to us.

The food cycle is part of nature, but it can be carried out in kinder ways. If we are what we eat, then this is surely a way to ensure kinder, healthier societies, which has ripple effects far beyond the plate.

Supporting our local fishermen and ensuring proper ethical fishing standards and practices are carried out, we are able to source fish that meets our three criteria: good, sustainable and uplifting.

It’s not about taking all that we can from our river, but rather living more like the communities beside us: respecting the river, taking only what we need, respecting quotas and size restraints, choosing local bream and river yabbies (crayfish) rather than importing fish from further afield that only increases the carbon footprint and denies the chance to empower the people right next to us.

Again, the energy of more sustainable food production and consumption filters out into the other spheres of our lives. The good juju is simply more delicious.

Choosing the mindful approach to food is, as Michael Pollan says, one of the few ways we have the power to influence the world. When so much of our power lies in the hands of politicians, as consumers and producers, we hold the ticket to creating a more sustainable earth. This is our philosophy. This is our essential.


 

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