Food writer, Michael Pollan said that we should serve the food we know the story behind.
“Why don’t we pay more attention to who our farmers are? We would never be as careless choosing an auto mechanic or a babysitter as we are about who grows our food.”
But sometimes it is difficult to find out the story of the food we buy and eat. There is only so much that food labels can tell us. Looking at packaging we can tell if something is organic, Fairtrade or grown in Ireland but that really doesn’t tell us much about who is behind the food, how it is grown and its sustainability.
As for choosing better suppliers and making better food choices, well, that can be awfully hard when the main source of food for many of us comes from large international supermarkets. Not everybody has the luxury of a farmer’s market nearby.
However, hoping to solve these problems and bring us those food stories is Nathalie Markiefka and Sinead Moran. Nathalie and Sinead met whilst studying for their Masters in Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security, in Galway and this is where they came up with the idea of an online platform to help to connect people across Ireland to local organic produce.
Image: Sinead Moran & Nathalie Markiefka
The platform is called Foodture and it was launched at the start of this year.
Foodture’s mission is to create an active platform to become the go-to place and one-stop shop for sourcing local, sustainable Fair Food in Ireland. It helps consumers to discover and support the truly sustainable, FAIR food farmers and food producers in Ireland.
On the Foodture website there is a section called ‘Fair Food Finder’ which people can use to find local, sustainable and seasonal food. The interactive map will show you eco-friendly producers, points of sale, restaurants and community groups in your area that offer food that is “fair to the environment, humans, and animals”.
Foodture enables consumers to become less passive, more informed and more critical too when it comes to food shopping and eating out.
“Supporting a transition from consumers to empowered food citizens who engage with how and who produced their food is Foodture’s overarching social goal” – Sinead Moran, Founder Foodture.
But it’s not just consumers that benefit from the Foodture initiative, the producers do too.
Nathalie and Sinead visit the farmers, artisan producers, eateries and community groups and interview them and share their stories on the Foodture website and create videos about them for the Foodture YouTube channel.
The people and places featured on Foodture are called ‘Food Ambassadors’ and these articles and videos help draw attention to the work being done and make them more visible.
To become a Foodture Food Ambassador you have to be:
- An Irish based farmer/food producer that is organic, biodynamic or in another way producing food for local consumption in a non-chemical, soil building, regenerative, environmentally responsible way. Certified or non-certified.
- An artisan producer, restaurant, cafe, deli, retail store that sources at least 50% locally.
- A community group, social enterprise, NGO, advocacy or educational organization that helps others to grow/cook food, repair/build soils, rebuild rural livelihoods, conserve or protect the environment or advocates for a fairer food system for all.
Foodture not only connects consumers to producers but it also connects producers to each other helping to build a support network and a community of like-minded people. This in turn will help to strengthen the impact of small scale producers and sustainable farmers.
This is the core belief of Foodture, that by working together we can transition towards a sustainable food future. And it is these types of grassroots movements that do bring about change. It was a small group of local producers and consumers, much like the ones featured on Foodture, that brought about the organic food movement. The food industry is sensitive to consumer trends. If consumers make good food choices, the industry will respond.
However, loads of large food companies have organic departments now but when you buy local organic produce it supports more than just the farming methods. It supports the community too.
So if you want to support your local community and access fresh, sustainably grown, fairly produced foods, check out the Foodture website. It is the hassle free way to identify suppliers who sell produce from farmers they know and trust and it can connect you with your local organic farmer.
Foodture really is a great way for us to make food choices that support the kind of fair world we wish to live in.
If you would like to get in touch with Foodture, email [email protected]
Otherwise, you can follow Foodture