The label ‘consumer’ is an odd one – not everyone thinks of themselves as a passive consumer of things, but big food businesses regularly label their customers that way. And labels matter: Our food system’s ‘consumer culture’, was created by the big food businesses who control it. Consumer culture has got out of control - it eats our limited planetary resources far faster than they can regenerate.
The way that our food is produced is responsible for some of our biggest environmental impacts – forests are cut down, soils are exhausted, intensive fish farming pollutes freshwater. Yet we rarely see these massive environmental impacts with our own eyes – they’re hidden behind the operations of vast companies.
We’ve lost the connection to the land and to how food is produced.
But food remains something that plays a role in our lives beyond nutrition, it’s a way to socialise and to nourish the senses and psyche. It can also be a way to express our beliefs about the world, the environment and how we believe the planet should be treated.
Feedback is a campaign group that asks: what if we started thinking of ourselves as food citizens, rather than passive consumers?
We work to regenerate nature by transforming our food system. We challenge power, catalyse action and empower people to achieve positive change.
For example, during 2018, we started work on a project which seeks to create a better food economy for a sustainable future in the north west of England. We want to pilot a circular food system that has shorter, regional supply chains, minimises waste and maximises the use of surplus food.
We’re currently creating the Alchemic Kitchen which is an experimental development space that takes food in danger of being wasted and transforms it into new products, such as sauces, breads, and pickles, for a wholesale market.
We work with local farmers, growers and food producers; support other social enterprises; and encourage communities to develop new skills through workshops and events that demonstrate how they can learn new food skills and make a difference as an individual.
Feedback’s Food Citizen campaign has come up with six simple steps to follow to lead us towards Food Citizenship.