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Eat NZ Kaitaki, Jessica Lamb, is about to begin her Bachelor of Environmental Science majoring in Ecosystem Health and Biosecurity. She shares her thoughts around the Mana Kai concept of Hauora, and it's need for regeneration.
Food brings us joy. Food brings us happiness. Food brings people together. And most importantly, food gives us the sustenance and nutrition that we need in order to survive.
The concept of haoura is essential in our lives. Without being physically healthy, we feel depleted, and similarly, without being mentally healthy, we also feel depleted.
This is the reason why having access to and consuming food that is of high-quality is essential in order to have a thriving community where the health and happiness of the community thrives.
However over the last few decades our food system has changed. The way it is being produced, harvested, and eaten has all changed, and this is having a profound impact on both our physical and mental health in the world around us.
With the rising rates of obesity, mental health illnesses, and chronic diseases, it is clear that something has changed within the ways we live our lives.
We are also experiencing a climate crisis and extreme biodiversity loss.
Could it be possible that these 3 things are interconnected?
I believe so. The change in our food system is causing the abrupt rise in illnesses throughout the world as well as the climate crisis.
We have made ourselves out of balance through the loss of connection to Papatūānuku, causing us to harm her as well as ourselves - most likely through blind eyes.
In order to heal our planet and ourselves we need to take a step back and look at how food used to be produced.
We didn’t rely on chemicals that destroyed life in the soil. We didn’t use heavy machinery that relied on fossil fuels. And we didn’t work against Papatūānuku, we worked with her which produced high quality nutritious food.
This comes to my final question.
How do we restore balance between ourselves and with nature?
The answer is simple.
We must connect back to nature and nurture her. Our food system is having a huge impact on our planet and turns out we don’t even value that food 33% of the time - with 1/3 of all food being produced, wasted.
We need to produce and value our food which regenerates the soil, so that as a result, our haoura is also regenerated.
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