What Is Food To You?


Remember that last time when you had a super exhausting day and you decided to skip lunch? Obviously by dinner time you were super hungry and getting a little grumpy. You headed to university cafeteria and… you ran into the longest and slowest queue you have ever seen.

Hunger at the situation described above is a terrible feeling. However, we are priviledged enough to have options: maybe a quick bite at a McDonald’s restaurant nearby or a sandwich from the closest grocery store.

For 800 million people worldwide options for being hungry do not exist. The same time many developing countries are facing problems like malnutrition, one third of all the food in the world is wasted.

Is this what we call sustainable?

Question marks related to food don’t end there. When you start to think of the last dinner you just had, can you actually tell where the food came from? Who produced it? What did it contain? Was it even safe to eat?

Thinking of the whole food cycle can indeed be depressing, like a black hole full of mysteries and problems. But turning things around might help: food can also be powerful.

Eating well makes you feel stronger and have more energy. Cooking together with friends and family is a great social experience.

Think&Do – Think Food

Helsinki Think Company and UN Youth Association Helsinki organized a Think&Do Club event to “Think Food”. Discussion started from the big picture from various different perspectives – after all, food is a subject that has an effect on health, society and environment, among others.

Discussion floated from macro to micro level. Janne Sivonen used Fairtrade as an example on creating a sustainable ecosystem around food through the whole supply chain, including the process of producing, processing, transportation and consuming. Fairtrade also defends consumers rights – when buying Fairtrade products, consumers know what they choose.

Acts on grassroot level are meaningful as well. Kätling Kangur and Vahid Mortezaei from Creative Sustainability shared their experiences on dumpster diving, using it as an example on how to create discussion and build bottom-up movement.

thinkdo food

Change can start from anywhere

We hope that these events and movements are just the tip of the iceberg when trying to solve the problems in the whole food system. Think Food event might have not changed the situation of starvation or malnutrition, but it made participants think and gave concrete examples on how to do good decisions considering food in everyday life.

It can be small, but it’s better than nothing. And that same goes with you: it’s better do something and nothing. Why not cook something together with your flatmates or your friends? Why not go to coffee shop and talk about what you ate that day? Why not join the Restaurant Day? Why not buy local produced food? Why not meet people who are willing to do something about “food”?

Starting is always the hardest part. Let’s think food.

Mari Matsuzaki is a Think Company team member who’s passionate about food – and consuming it sustainably.