“Life, by its very presence, is apparently creating, and maintaining, the special conditions necessary for its own survival”.
World Environment Day was conceived in Stockholm by the United Nations General Assembly, in 1972. It was celebrated for the very first time on the 5th of June 1973. And every year millions of people around the world celebrate this day, in many different ways, but all with one common goal: to raise global awareness for the need to take positive environmental action in a rapidly changing world faced with many dilemmas. But, despite the crisis we are faced with, environmental, economic and social, we are also a people of hope and courage.
Uplifting communities while relieving hunger
Martin Luther King often spoke of integrity, and of one’s moral obligation to take a stand in the face of injustice, even if that means standing alone. One organisation that embodies this philosophy is Soil for Life, an ever growing and expanding, Cape Town Based NGO, working towards social and rural upliftment in some of our most impoverished communities. Soil for Life teaches community members how to create green spaces in their area that can harvest fresh, nutritious plants and vegetables all year round. The work they do do contributes towards relieving the hunger epidemic our country is faced with. They also help people develop a skill and a means to uplift themselves.
124 meals hosted in 2012
In 2011 the wonderful people at Yuppiechef started a ‘bite sized initiative’, Eat For The Earth, held for the first time that year, on World Environment Day. This initiative encourages people to host a meal for friends, family and colleagues, and to ask them to donate the cost of their meal online, with all proceeds going to support of Soil for Life. In the first year Eat For The Earth was held, 65 meals were hosted. This year that number nearly doubled with a 124 meals. So it is with much excitement and anticipation that they look forward to 2013, which they believe will be even bigger and better.
Naturally Soil for Life joined in all the fun and decided to host three of their own Eat For The Earth luncheons, one at Soil for Life and one in the community. And what a marvellous day it turned out to be (I can still hear the soil for life staff giving sighs of relief). The luncheon started off with a heartfelt and moving welcoming by Pat Featherstone, the incredible woman behind Soil for Life, followed by the reading of a beautiful poem entitled ‘Nature’ written by Ian McCallum. Then Peter Daniels, the one half behind ‘Soaring Free Superfoods’ and co-author of SA’s first gourmet raw foods cookbook , RAWlicious (comically referred to as the ‘un-cookbook’) gave an exciting demonstration, showing the guests how to make their very own yummy pesto, using the ‘weeds’ in their gardens.
Then Mr Tozie Zokufa, chairman of the Pan African Animal Welfare Alliance and representative of Compassion in World Farming, took centre stage. Mr Zokufa gave an insightful and chilling look into our current unsustainable methods of food production worldwide and how these methods are undermining Earth’s ability to deliver vital life-support services, and all the alternative ‘planet-friendly’ sustainable methods our world needs to start moving to.
A common goal for the greater good
After the excitement of the main event there was a raffle draw and two lucky participants respectively won a RAWlicious hamper, an Earthshine hamper, a meal for two at Reuben Riffel’s One and Only. By now most of the guests were starving, so the bubbly was popped, the wine opened (all generously supplied by Stellar Organic Wines) and everyone feasted on a variety of homemade soups, fresh garden salads, a variety of cheeses, artisan breads and some of Pats ‘medicinal’ homemade pestos. The event created an open platform for all the participants to mingle and share ideas and just relish in the fact that everyone there shared and are trying to work towards a common goal for the greater good of our fragile planet.
Soil for Life eagerly anticipate and plan that next year’s Eat for the Earth will have an even further reaching impact, creating awareness about sustainable living alternatives and generating even bigger interest from the public. It is with grateful hearts and fighting spirits that everyone at Soil for Life is looking to the year ahead. They hope to continue uplifting and enriching people’s lives and saving our planet, one ethically grown meal at a time.
By Charlotte Jordaan