This October, NCDFREE has launched #feastofideas, a one month global effort to crowdsource thousands of solutions to our biggest food-related health challenges from people’s kitchens, dining rooms, local eateries and picnic rugs. At the end of the month, a mega-menu of mouth-watering crowdsourced solutions will be served to leaders and decision-makers - helping to shape their action agendas and transform our food system.
Every day, two billion people struggle with the stigma and health complications associated with overweight and obesity, whilst 795 million do not have enough to eat. 422 million people, young and old, suffer from diabetes, and 17.5 million deaths per year are attributed to cardiovascular disease. Diet-related noncommunicable diseases are on the rise everywhere. Rich, poor, north, south - food systems are failing our health and our planet.
Overwhelming, isn’t it?
When you think about how complicated our food system is – the journey our meal takes from farm, to fork, and waste – food’s connection with health, environment, poverty, equity, trade, culture, politics, history, and our future, and the drastic changes required to radically reduce its negative impacts. Often, it seems like an impossible task. One we’d rather defer to another person, place, and time.
Now for the good news!
We can seek simplicity in this overwhelming complexity to create real and timely impact. The fact that food is interwoven into every aspect of our health, and our lives, and that so many diverse industries and individuals have a ‘steak’ in the pie (the food puns are now out of my system - promise) – means that small changes have HUGE impact. Creating a healthier, more sustainable food system reduces food insecurity, helps mitigate climate change, improves educational attainment for women and girls, prevents premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases, and fortunately, this list, unlike the list of diseases above, goes on and on and on. It has been estimated that working on food and nutrition can directly help achieve 12 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. I know a ‘silver bullet’ for health and development doesn’t exist…but if there were one…FOOD would be it! And finally, is seems that global leaders may be thinking the same.
Hungry for change, thirsty for solutions.
With the recent announcement of the United Nations Decade of Action of Nutrition, there has never been a better time to act. The world is hungry for change and thirsty for solutions. However, it can be awfully daunting putting your ideas out there. We often fear that experts or people that know more about the subject matter won’t agree, or worse, tear down our ideas, our passion. That’s what makes #feastofideas so special. Through conversations with friends, family and colleagues over a shared meal in the comfort of familiar surrounds, we all have an opportunity to speak up and share our world-changing solutions with nutrition, food, and health leaders around the world. That’s both doable and delicious.
There’s a seat for everyone at the #feastofideas table!
We encourage you to sit, eat, talk, solve and share.
How to get involved?
- Sign up at www.ncdfree.org/campaign
- Set a date
- Invite friends to share a meal
- Ask guests NCDFREE’s BIG questions
- Generate solutions (and have FUN)
- Share your ideas with the world on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook by tagging #feastofideas
Where will your solutions be served?
- NCDFREE’s ultimate menu of crowdsourced global health solutions
- London wrap event to be attended by leaders in the food, health and nutrition space
- Westminster, where policy-makers will be all ears
- NCDFREE’s website and mailing list. The people’s menu will be made available to EVERYONE.
Bon appétit & Salute to good health.
About the Author
Jessica Renzella (@jessicanne_r) is Events & Campaign Coordinator at NCDFREE. Jess has the pleasure of coordinating global events and innovative campaigns at NCDFREE. She recently graduated from the Master of Public Health at Australia's Melbourne University, focusing her studies on the intersection between food, health and climate change. After an internship with the World Health Organization earlier in 2016, Jess is back in Europe undertaking a DPhil in Population Health at Oxford University, concentrating her time and efforts on the impact of urban environments on nutrition. She’ll tell everyone and anyone who’ll listen about healthy, sustainable food systems...and at the moment, you can’t keep her quiet about #feastofideas! She desperately misses her beautiful sheepdog Ralph, and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) Food Justice Truck Project in Melbourne.
NCDFREE (@ncdfree) is a global social movement that aims for a world free from preventable noncommunicable diseases. We believe that chronic diseases pose an enormous threat to the future of humanity, and that overcoming this challenge is the fight of our generation. We believe that the key to winning this battle lies in creative new ways of thinking about global health. With your help, and through the power of food, we will win this fight.