Episode twelve of the Climate Curious podcast is now live with our special guest, knowledge broker, community chef and food policy-maker, Dee Woods.
“The go to solution for most people is to stop eating meat and eat more vegetables […]. It’s just wrong. It’s a false solution,” says Dee Woods, knowledge broker, community chef activist and food policy-maker, on the latest episode of the Climate Curious podcast by TEDxLondon. In our most hunger-inducing chat to date, she explains why veganism isn’t the answer to climate change, dignity and equity are.
Attributing her love of food to her father’s legacy as a farmer in the Caribbean, Dee recognises her time spent in Trinidad tasting every possible fruit, herb and vegetable was the moment it all started for her. Getting her first cookbook when she was six, and always understanding the importance of fresh ingredients, it wasn’t until being unwell that she realised that “food is so much more than food, in terms of culture, history and legacy,” she explains.
And it’s this disconnect from our environment that stops us having a close relationship with our food, and understanding its intersectionality.
“Cheap food is what is killing us. We still have slavery within our food system, between migrant workers right here in Europe, to children in Africa and South America, on cocoa plantations. We need to be thinking beyond that now.”Dee Woods
Dignity and equity. Giving diverse and marginalised voices a platform on which to debate where our food comes from. Not just policy makers – which Dee says is essential to ensuring that better decisions are taken for people and planet. She points out everything is a policy decision – saying it was no accident that chicken shops permeate low income areas, which she calls a “food apartheid”, a term originally used by Karen Washington in the US. The term highlights the issues of economic inequality and systemic racism that permeate our national food systems.
How do we get become global food citizens?
So after talking to Dee, we asked how do we get reconnected and become global food citizens? How do we build equity into our system, via hyper-local food economies?
Dee says it needs to start with taking an interest in the food you eat, where it comes from, and what that supply chain looks like. Choose to support initiatives that grow food near to you, for example Dee’s Granville Community Kitchen, where you can purchase a Good Food Box. Also support leaders and policy makers campaigning for better food for everyone, such as MP Ian Byrne’s #RightToFood petition. Put simply, as co-host Ben says: “I think maybe as humans, we think of ourselves as though we just live here, and we’re not part of it.”
In this conversation, hosted by TEDxLondon’s Maryam Pasha and advocate and activist Ben Hurst, Dee breaks down why solving bigger problems of the food industry can help us fight climate change, how chicken shops are in fact a policy-driven food apartheid, and why building local food economies is essential to the future of people and planet.
Until next time – stay curious!