Real Food: the way to robust health, economic prosperity and climate restoration
by Sister Margie Gillis
What a dilemma we’re in!
We’re now beginning to realize that both the pandemic and climate change are affecting our food supply, food choices, food pricing, and food availability. Coming soon to a grocery store near you, as long as you have money and are not particular about what you eat, designer food grown in labs! Designer food is quickly gaining attention as the answer to our current and future daily bread needs. (The Economist: “Eating our way to a more sustainable future”, Oct. 27, 2021) Multi-national corporations and pharmaceutical companies are leading this charge. The food will be expensive and designer perfect and is seen as the solution to food security in a climate-changed post-Covid world.
I watch my few dollars and cents and I AM particular about what I eat so I don’t expect to be fine with the new designer edibles. I don’t have expensive taste in food but I am partial to the mouth-watering flavour of my fresh garden-grown russet potato in comparison to a corporate farmed, chemicalized spud that has been in storage a year or two before it reaches my dinner plate. And I’m even less fine with the thought of designer potatoes grown in a lab!
Real food is medicine – nourishing, soothing, comforting, healing.
Real food is social – engaging, communal, civil, festive.
Real food builds local economies – supports families, collectives, communities, countries.
Real food is eucharistic – creative, transformative, sacramental, sacrificial.
Real food is ecological – stores carbon, reduces greenhouse gases, limits emissions, enriches soil.
Real food is counter-cultural – a simple act of resistance against corporate domination and a profound gesture of “choosing life so that you and your descendants might live” (Deut 30:19).
And now for a neat story about real food. Cape Breton University has just hired Dr. Alana Pindar as the newly appointed Weston Family Visiting Professor in Ecosystem Health and Food Security. She will be researching local ecosystem health impacts but, more interestingly in my opinion, she will oversee the re-creation of Mabel Bell’s historic gardens at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck, Cape Breton.
Mabel Bell, wife of inventor Alexander Graham Bell, was a prolific gardener. She loved to grow her own food at their home in Beinn Breagh (Gaelic for beautiful mountain), Baddeck, and teach local people how to use pollinators to enrich their fruit and vegetable gardens. She had a beautiful apple orchard and grew many varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers and squashes. Pindar has access to Mabel’s original diaries with journal entries containing loads of information about everything she grew. The re-created garden in Baddeck will be a teaching site for local people to educate them about how to grow their own food and how important self-sufficiency and resiliency are particularly as we face climate change conditions and post-covid inflationary food prices. Click here to hear the interview with Dr. Pindar.
So hopefully the lovely spud on your next dinner plate (mashed, baked, roasted or fries) is not grown in a lab but is a real, nutritious, home garden variety. If it is, it will change your life and the life of our planet!