We all have it. We all need it.
Food, among a couple of other things, is the very thing that keeps us alive.
Food is life itself. It can be sweet, spicy, bland or delicious.
It triggers emotions and memories.
It is an excuse for getting together, for taking a break, for going outside, and even for visiting new places.
Food is culture.
We eat many times a day, and every meal carries the weight of many decisions taken whether we may or may not be aware of it. Because of its role, it is also a major tool to address many issues.
Every decision matters, from our dietary preferences to our choice of ingredients and their providers.
No matter what we eat, our diet or the ingredients, it comes from something that is being produced by someone, somewhere. It travels a certain distance, it is sold at an specific shop, handled by different hands who earned different fares and made different efforts. It went through different procedures and has been in contact with different materials and substances.
Once it has reached our mouths, it may have been cooked by us, or someone else, using different procedures and energy before it reaches our plates. Plates that have been chosen prior to that, and have themselves made a very similar journey.
And where is that plate, on a table where?
Who’s setting the table? who is doing the dishes? Who are we sharing our meal with?
The decisions that we make, and through which other decisions have been made,
are almost countless, but are we aware of them? We do play a role here, and
every decision makes a difference on the world and many people’s lives - our lives!
It is the time to know, to question, to understand, to join the dots. We can’t afford the luxury of not doing so. For our own’s sake, for the sake of those around us, for our grandchildren, for the planet – our home.
By sharing this table, this meal, this moment of caring about each other, about what nourishes us and our life, we’re starting the conversation. We are celebrating the encounters, the interactions, the differences and the awakening.
We are grateful for what we have, food, life, and others to share it with.
reflections & conclusion
It has been made clear that food can represent a very interesting and
exploitable subject of study through design. In an intention to work closely
with and for people, sharing knowledge and experiences, collaborating and
working within the boundaries of social design and design for sustainability,
food becomes a very simple yet powerful tool to drive changes, and to influence people’s behaviours. It is intrinsically connected not only to our
very basic human rights and needs, but with an array of daily choices and
concerns that have a massive yet short-term effect on most people. Food is a
fundamental educational tool, essential, yet often neglected.
It also creates many opportunities of action due to its simplicity and familiarity. Moreover, people can effortlessly be engaged in such actions, due to the widespread interest most people have in it and the importance of its role in anyone’s life.
Food is an element most people relates to in many different ways. It involves associations of all sorts, including the triggering of emotions and thoughts. It is social, political and cultural. It is sensitive, instinctive, and universal.
The challenge is now, to find a way on how to promote lifestyle changes in people. Changes that would benefit their health in all senses, their bodies, their habits, their relationship with others and with nature. The question is how to use food interventions (designing services rather than products, models and open-solutions rather than set rules) to enable those changes to happen, and to empower people with the knowledge and skills they need to be able to be the drivers of their own re-designed lives.