Written by Nina Osswald, Closing Loops Engagement Coordinator
“I wish I could say I’ve always been passionate about food, but that’s probably not true. I grew up in Germany eating what was then a more or less “normal”, not particularly healthy diet. We did like to cook in my family, but it was only in my teens that I started thinking more about the ethical and health implications of what we ate.
When I was fifteen, I became a vegetarian mostly for the animals and for the environment. That was also around the time my father died of colo-rectal cancer, and that has hugely contributed to my motivation to not just eat better myself but also to spread the benefits and joy of eating well through my work.
My own digestive health drastically improved since years later, while living in India, I started eating a primarily whole, plant-based diet. This shift was inspired by the work of Dr. Nandita Shah who helps people reverse chronic health conditions such as type-2 diabetes through diet. A lot of what I have learned about food and health since then came from the research by plant-based doctors such as Dr. Michael Greger, whose Nutrition Facts podcast I am a big fan of.
My interest in organic farming has also grown over the years, and I think it dates back to a film a geography teacher in secondary school showed us. It portrayed a farmer who, by switching to a smaller tractor and using only a broadfork rather than a plough, was able to build up the quality of the soil and reduce his input costs. For some reason that really impressed me, and I still remember it often when I think about soil health and climate change. The solutions for so many of our problems are really simple, they just require a change of thinking.
I have volunteered on organic farms, permaculture projects and community gardens in different parts of the world and have come to love growing my own food, although I do not get nearly as much time for this as I would like. So for the time being, I support organic farmers and growers by buying what they grow for the benefit of our health, the soil, biodiversity and the climate. Sadly, when eating out this is still much harder especially in the UK, but hopefully we will get to a point soon where healthy, sustainably produced food is available for everyone, everywhere. My work with FoodFutures is my small contribution to this.”
If you would like to share your story of change around sustainable food, please email firstname.lastname@example.org