We are well into the new year, and undoubtedly, for many people, well into attacking resolutions of eating better or exercising more. According to the Forbes Health/One Poll survey of one thousand adults in the US, improved fitness and diet are two of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. The same survey found that, on average, resolutions last just 3.74 months. Not bad, but this does not bode well if you are hoping to don a six-pack by swimsuit season.
Would we adhere longer to our resolution to eat better if we realized that the positive outcomes could extend well beyond our personal benefit? Would our resolution become a permanent behavioral change if we realized that just by making more conscious choices about what we eat, we can play a role in mitigating a looming existential crisis?
This is precisely one of the main themes of the documentary Feeding Tomorrow. Directed by brothers Oliver and Simon English, Feeding Tomorrow is a poignant look at the modern food system and its impact on the environment and human health. The documentary was seven years in the making, with the first footage filmed in my very own dining room at Field to Fork Farm – the farm my husband Tim and I established in 2012 in western New Providence. I am so humbled that a visit to our small farm was the inspiration for Oliver and Simon in creating this documentary.
With parents who met in culinary school and operated several restaurants together, Oliver and Simon grew up in the restaurant industry. Oliver is a chef himself and has opened several restaurants around the world. We first met in Nassau during his search for local farms to source better quality produce for the restaurant Olives in Atlantis.
After touring the farm and engaging in a long conversation with a former colleague, Sekani Nash, he urged his brother Simon, who had just graduated from film school in New York, to fly down with equipment to interview us. It was a fun two days of sharing our passion for sustainable growing, cooking and eating a farm-fresh plant-based meal, and sharing our philosophy around food. The last day of filming was at our Farmers Market at The Island House, where they experienced our customers’ enthusiasm for our fresh, locally grown products.
I first saw the documentary at the Bahamas International Film Festival last year. I was blown away by the insightful portrayal of how the global food industry has resulted in environmental destruction, contributing to climate change. It has since been shown at additional film festivals, including the world-renowned Woodstock Film Festival.
The film follows a regenerative farmer, a nutritionist, and an educator. It reveals the work they are doing to mitigate the damage our current food system has on the environment and human health. In addition to these three main cast members, numerous scientists, entrepreneurs and farmers are featured, including yours truly.
Unlike many films in this genre, Feeding Tomorrow gives hope by empowering the viewer with practical diet adjustments and behavioral changes that can contribute to positive impacts on the environment and health. Some helpful takeaways include the following.
Eat More Plants
By increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in our diet, we ensure the sustainability of the food production system that, by its very nature, pulls carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and locks it away in plant tissues and the soil. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is rich in health-promoting and disease-fighting nutrients and promotes longevity.
Reduce Red Meat
Commercial livestock rearing for meat contributes to climate change in a few ways. Globally, livestock production is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. The increasing global demand for meat has resulted in the destruction of forests worldwide to provide pastureland for grazing. Not only are forests the source of the oxygen we breathe, but they also store tons of carbon in the soil—their destruction results in the release of stored carbon into the atmosphere. Deforestation for livestock pastures also destroys wildlife habitats and ultimately impacts biodiversity.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, we have lost more than two-thirds of our wildlife in the last fifty years due to habitat destruction. Production of meat in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, contributes to climate change as they emit large quantities of methane, which is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat. Regarding our physical health, meat’s inflammatory nature and content of saturated fats contribute significantly to chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The less meat we consume, the healthier we all are.
By growing some of the food you consume, you are mitigating the effects of climate change by sequestering carbon and reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases associated with transporting food across long distances. You are also more likely to eat more health-promoting fruits and vegetables.
As the Farm Crop Production Manager at the Centre for Training and Innovation (CTI), which is powered by the One Eleuthera Foundation, growing food is one way that my work continues to advance the mission of providing greater community access to nutritious, affordable food.
To learn more about how you can play a role in being a global hero, be sure to watch the documentary Feeding Tomorrow. It is currently available on AppleTV, Google Play and
Amazon Prime. To learn more about the Farm at CTI, and our strides in local food security, visit: www.oneelethera.org. We all eat for a living. It behooves us to eat in a way that ensures that we, and planet Earth, can live and thrive longer.
About One Eleuthera Foundation
Founded in 2012, One Eleuthera Foundation is a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to transforming our local island communities into thriving, self-sufficient ecosystems. We do this by focusing on five key areas: economic ownership, meaningful educational advancement, pathways to wellness, and environmentally sustainable communities centered around our island’s unique cultural identity. We run a number of social enterprises, including CTI, our vocational school; the Retreat Hotel, a training hotel for hospitality students; and our farm and Cooling House, which trains future farmers in the best sustainability and food production practices. Through OEF’s consistent dedicated efforts, the tenacity and resourcefulness of our legacy community, and the support of donors and partners, we are creating change in Eleuthera.