Every time I’m invited to talk about Eating to Extinction at events, conferences and book festivals, the one question that always crops up (rightly) is ‘what can we do?’. People are often shocked to learn that so much biodiversity, skills, knowledge and culturally important foods are being lost. They often also feel frustrated at feeling there’s little they can do to save them. Food Diversity Day, which takes place on January 13th, is one answer. The idea is simple: bring as many people together as possible (virtually and in person) to celebrate, discuss and exchange knowledge and to talk about food diversity. This way, more of us can better understand why diversity matters and also learn ways in which people are already making efforts to save it.
While we’re usually told to eat less in January, Food Diversity Day is a way of saying “eat more”, more diversity: find a food that’s rare or endangered where you live; try a different variety of apple or cheese; taste a variety of pea or bean you’ve never encountered before; create more diversity by saving seeds and growing food; and support the food producers and farmers helping to preserve distinctive and diverse foods in your area. This is why on Food Diversity Day there will be talks and food experiences designed to inspire us to learn more about the endangered foods we can still save and to eat more diversely.
The discussions, which you can join for free, will include a host of people from the world of food and farming. You can go to the website fooddiversityday.com to see the list of sessions and book your place through Eventbrite or you can watch and listen for free (either live or later on YouTube). The range of themes being covered is huge, from the role of food diversity in saving the oceans to the influence of chefs in saving endangered ingredients. You’ll be able to learn how cities around the world are helping food and farming diversity to flourish and hear from the makers of cheeses on the brink of extinction.
Adding their expertise to the sessions will be Professor Tim Spector discussing the emerging science of the importance of a diverse diet; chef Michael Caines on the importance of rare breed farm animals; Angela Hartnett and Mitch Tonks on putting more fish diversity on our plates; Pete Brown on how drinking diversity can save rare grains, hops and fruits; and Alys Fowler and guests talking about seed-saving for the future. That’s just a flavour, as there will be plenty more sessions and amazing experts to watch on the day. Keep checking the website and this blog for more information.