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coming together around food

  4 min

trendwatch

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous effect on the globalization. At the start of the year the world was a problematic paradise with limitless possibilities for connection and exploration. International tourism had a record breaking 2019, and 2020 promised more of the same. Instead, our world has shrunk down to humbling size, as our movements and lives were limited and fraught with uncertainty. These extraordinary limitations brought with them a renewed focus on community and living local. 2020 has shown us once again that food is one of the foundations in providing a sense of place.

Jelle Steenbergen   Sander van der Meij

Resilience
Global disruptions and local lockdowns have seen business and corporations everywhere scramble and preach the year’s new gospel: resilience. The food chain is too vulnerable to shocks like a raging pandemic, the system is crumbling, and we must take steps to reduce our vulnerability and cultivate resilience. How do we do that? By going back to the fundamentals. To the people that make our food and the importance of community. Support your locals movements have been picking up steam around the world as people everywhere band together to support each other through unprecedented times. If things were trending local before, and they were, then COVID-19 has accelerated the growth of local and sustainable food communities, and created new ones.

Food security
Another area of growing focus is food security, and by extension inclusivity and diversity. In the United States, marginalized groups and minorities have been disproportionately affected by the consequences of the pandemic. COVID-19 has worsened the situation for many, and shone a bleak light on already existing issues. Add to this the political climate and protest movements like Black Lives Matter, and the result is a clarion call for inclusivity in our food system. The harsh reality for many service industry professionals has also given rise for a fairer system, and brought restaurants together to support those who provide us with this essential service without equitable compensation. In Los Angeles, non-profit organization No Us Without You was founded to provide food security to undocumented restaurant workers, whom it calls ‘the backbone of the hospitality industry’. As powerful as these community led initiatives are, in a fair and equitable restaurant industry, they should not be needed. 2020 has given a voice to those too often left voiceless, and when COVID-19 is a sad memory, these voices will not again be silent. The world economic forum is set to gather for a discussion of ‘The Great Reset’ early next year, perhaps the restaurant industry will follow suit. It might be necessary.

Local and healthy
Many restaurants, particularly those targeting the higher end of the market, have been sworn disciples of the local philosophy, and working together with the local farmers and producers to great success. Yet that system has also had fundamental weaknesses exposed. Local producers that exclusively supply restaurants were savagely struck when those very restaurants were forced to close down. The farm to table philosophy falls apart without a table to serve. In this area, too, new communities were forged and existing ones strengthened. Restaurants began boxing up fresh produce to deliver to locals, and we’ve seen a surge of small farmers and producers taking a direct to consumer approach. Not just in the form of an online store or a socially distanced farmer’s market, but also in educational outreach. What better way to cultivate resilience than to grow your own food, after all? A second existing trend that has been strengthened by COVID-19 is the growing demand for healthy food. We’re more health conscious than ever, and doubly aware of the importance of quality nutrition for a healthy lifestyle. Cleanliness and transparency go hand in hand with that rise. Our trust in the things we eat has been shaken by the nature of the pandemic, and local farmers and producers are perfectly positioned to meet this changing demand. 

Human connection
Food is the great connector, and 2020 has been a year in which we’ve all felt the effects of being disconnected from each other, and perhaps also what being disconnected from our planet at large might cause. Expressions of care are more valuable than ever, and food is the most universal medium to express that care. We’ve got to help each other. Look out for our neighbors and the invisible people that work to make our lives what they are. 2020 has opened our eyes to those around us, shone a light on the ugly side of society, and more often than not, our response has been to come together as a community. That’s something we’ll take with us into 2021 and beyond.

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Food and community are linked, especially in a time where we all have to live a little more local.

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communities2.svg
Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.
Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.
Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.

  4 min

titel.svg

Food and community are linked, especially in a time where we all have to live a little more local.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous effect on the globalization. At the start of the year the world was a problematic paradise with limitless possibilities for connection and exploration. International tourism had a record breaking 2019, and 2020 promised more of the same. Instead, our world has shrunk down to humbling size, as our movements and lives were limited and fraught with uncertainty. These extraordinary limitations brought with them a renewed focus on community and living local. 2020 has shown us once again that food is one of the foundations in providing a sense of place.

Jelle Steenbergen   Sander van der Meij

Resilience
Global disruptions and local lockdowns have seen business and corporations everywhere scramble and preach the year’s new gospel: resilience. The food chain is too vulnerable to shocks like a raging pandemic, the system is crumbling, and we must take steps to reduce our vulnerability and cultivate resilience. How do we do that? By going back to the fundamentals. To the people that make our food and the importance of community. Support your locals movements have been picking up steam around the world as people everywhere band together to support each other through unprecedented times. If things were trending local before, and they were, then COVID-19 has accelerated the growth of local and sustainable food communities, and created new ones.

Food security
Another area of growing focus is food security, and by extension inclusivity and diversity. In the United States, marginalized groups and minorities have been disproportionately affected by the consequences of the pandemic. COVID-19 has worsened the situation for many, and shone a bleak light on already existing issues. Add to this the political climate and protest movements like Black Lives Matter, and the result is a clarion call for inclusivity in our food system. The harsh reality for many service industry professionals has also given rise for a fairer system, and brought restaurants together to support those who provide us with this essential service without equitable compensation. In Los Angeles, non-profit organization No Us Without You was founded to provide food security to undocumented restaurant workers, whom it calls ‘the backbone of the hospitality industry’. As powerful as these community led initiatives are, in a fair and equitable restaurant industry, they should not be needed. 2020 has given a voice to those too often left voiceless, and when COVID-19 is a sad memory, these voices will not again be silent. The world economic forum is set to gather for a discussion of ‘The Great Reset’ early next year, perhaps the restaurant industry will follow suit. It might be necessary.

Local and healthy
Many restaurants, particularly those targeting the higher end of the market, have been sworn disciples of the local philosophy, and working together with the local farmers and producers to great success. Yet that system has also had fundamental weaknesses exposed. Local producers that exclusively supply restaurants were savagely struck when those very restaurants were forced to close down. The farm to table philosophy falls apart without a table to serve. In this area, too, new communities were forged and existing ones strengthened. Restaurants began boxing up fresh produce to deliver to locals, and we’ve seen a surge of small farmers and producers taking a direct to consumer approach. Not just in the form of an online store or a socially distanced farmer’s market, but also in educational outreach. What better way to cultivate resilience than to grow your own food, after all? A second existing trend that has been strengthened by COVID-19 is the growing demand for healthy food. We’re more health conscious than ever, and doubly aware of the importance of quality nutrition for a healthy lifestyle. Cleanliness and transparency go hand in hand with that rise. Our trust in the things we eat has been shaken by the nature of the pandemic, and local farmers and producers are perfectly positioned to meet this changing demand. 

Human connection
Food is the great connector, and 2020 has been a year in which we’ve all felt the effects of being disconnected from each other, and perhaps also what being disconnected from our planet at large might cause. Expressions of care are more valuable than ever, and food is the most universal medium to express that care. We’ve got to help each other. Look out for our neighbors and the invisible people that work to make our lives what they are. 2020 has opened our eyes to those around us, shone a light on the ugly side of society, and more often than not, our response has been to come together as a community. That’s something we’ll take with us into 2021 and beyond.

communities.svg

Overview magazines

Food Inspiration Magazine is the online magazine for foodservice professionals in search of inspiration and innovation. With the magazine we collect, enrich and spread inspiration. The free subscription magazine is published eight times per year and is an abundant source of inspiration for food and hospitality professionals. Our readers can be found in the U.S., Northern Europe, Latin America and Asia.
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