During a panel at The Future of Food @ SXSW, panelists discussed the value of recognizing food as medicine and caring for the Earth’s natural resources.The conversation took place as part of the Future of Food @ SXSW co-hosted by The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, Little Herds, The Cook’s Nook, and Food Tank.
“If a certain practice is not good for the environment, it will not be good for the human, it will not be good for the animal and everything around it,” Snehee Chaplot, CEO and Founder of The Food Shop, says.
Chaplot explains that she comes to the topic of food as medicine thanks, in part, to her own experience. Several years ago, she says, she was managing an illness and had to think critically about the foods she consumed in an effort to heal her body.
Niyanta Spelman, CEO of the Rainforest Partnership, explains that in many Indigenous Peoples also draw a strong connection between food and healing. “The forest is both the supermarket and pharmacy for many Indigenous communities,” Spelman says.
Despite the importance of forests, Spelman says that unsustainable food production is destroying these ecosystems. Production of beef, corn, and soy are some of the biggest drivers of tropical deforestation, according to World Wildlife Fund. Spelman argues that it’s essential to put a halt to these practices.
Echoing this, Chaplot argues that it’s important to not only look at the type of food consumers eat, but also look at how and where the food is grown.
“We’ve broken the system because we don’t ask very basic questions about where things come from,” Spelman agrees.
Spelman also says that it is key to consider the impact of food production practices on today’s population and future generations. “How do we start thinking about not what is going to serve us today, but what’s going to serve us in two years, five years, eight years? We’d be making very different decisions.”
Watch the full conversation below: