The Power of Food: Food Is The Foundation of Our Culture

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Mackinzee Macho | March 19, 2021

Mackinzee Macho is an undergraduate student and Senior Program Manager in Human and Ecological Systems Transformations for the Foresight Lab. The Foresight Lab is a think-tank that shifts culture toward social, economic, and ecological well-being through consulting. This series, “The Power of Food,” explores topics like carbon sequestration and regenerative farming.

Food plays many different roles in our lives. It can be a peace-offering, welcoming gift, medicine, or a gatherer of friends and family. It is the centerpiece of cultures and heritage; and similar to folktales, recipes are passed down through generations and never forgotten. Food brings on a sense of wonder and creativity for those cultivating, harvesting, cooking, processing, or consuming it. It comes in all shapes and sizes, from different areas of the world with a variety of flavors. Our sustenance is more than just something to fill our stomachs – food is an attribute of shared culture.

Every living being on earth needs nourishment to survive. This visceral need connects us to the natural world. For us, around 95% of the food we consume comes from our soil, which we depend on for our survival. Unfortunately, two-thirds of Earth’s surface is experiencing desertification according to Allan Savory, an ecologist and founder of the Savory Institute. Through poor soil management practices, our soil is turning into dirt. This threatens our food supply. In the last 150 years, we have lost half of Earth’s fertile topsoil. At the rate of decline, scientists predict we only have 60 harvests left until our fertile topsoil is gone. Without topsoil, Earth’s ability to sequester carbon, filter water, and feed people diminish.

As citizens and community members, we have a role to play in soil health and carbon sequestration. Protecting the quality of our soil also gives us a powerful response to the climate emergency. Soil degradation is the largest carbon sink and protecting it has the power benefit us in numerous ways. We can garden fruits and vegetables, grow local plants, and preserve wildlife that promotes natural soil health and biodiversity. By purchasing organic and regenerative products, we send a strong message to the market that we are interested in regenerative, carbon farming. In this way, we can build a more regenerative future together.

Food is integral to culture and connection. If we continue eroding soils, we can no longer grow food to support our expanding populations. We are connected to Earth and each other. We must take actions that perpetuate our collective wellbeing We must assess the system as a whole and integrate carbon farming and gardening to bring about positive, measurable gains in social, economic, and ecological wellbeing.

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