Beyond Consumerism in COVID-19: The Give & Takeaway

People all over the world are sharing resources and knowledge or producing what they need themselves. Ideas that now seem more relevant than ever.

We spoke to Simon Jones in Derby about how the project he’s involved in has adapted to the Coronavirus pandemic, and what his motivations are.

What are the main elements of this project at the moment?

The Give & Takeaway is a donations-based meal delivery service started by Derby-based holistic gut-health workers-cooperative Praxis Probiotics. We procure organic ingredients from local fellow cooperative Sound Bites, make great meals and deliver to people's doors for a donation. Anything donated after costs goes to THRIVE Derby Covid-19 Response Work.

Was this project already started, and how did the pandemic change things?

We had planned for the Give & Takeaway to be a social eating event bringing people in the community together to eat. It was always going to be donation-based and a fundraiser for THRIVE. The pandemic meant that we couldn't bring people together anymore, but also created a crisis of isolation and people being increasingly in need of healthy immune-system-boosting foods, which is what we specialise in.

What are the underlying values or motivations of this project?

We all care passionately about holistic health, ecological and social justice. We want more people to be eating locally produced, organic whole foods so that they can be healthier in themselves but also be directly contributing to healthy ecosystems. We also want to promote the values of cooperation and mutual aid which is why we're called the Give & Takeaway, and we're doing things as ethically and affordable as possible.

Praxis Probiotics cares about radical social change and wants to play its part in aiming to be an example of an alternative that places the health of people and the planet at the forefront of everything we do. We also care passionately about education, awareness-raising and understanding the problems we face as a species, as well as the solutions we need to be acting upon.

How we grow, distribute and consume food is one of the most direct and impactful ways that we can change the world around us for the better.
 

What does mutual aid mean to you, and can you imagine your project scaled up to become a mainstream way of working?

Mutual aid means co-operation which is at the very root of our survival as a species. We are an interdependent, interconnected species and the health of one affects the health of all. Solidarity is the key not only to our ability to survive, but our ability to thrive.

In order for us to fulfill our potential as individuals within our communities, we need to become more aware of the sheer extent to which our ability to learn, grow and develop is totally bound up in the ability of others to do the same.

There is a global movement towards working more co-operatively, locally and sustainably in ways that place regeneration at the heart. I am inspired by the revolution in Rojava and the eco-socialist solidarity economies that are being impressively built by Cooperation Jackson in Mississippi and various similar experiments across the globe.

Watch more interviews on the Praxis Probiotics website.

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