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Finding purpose in food for the lost 20 something year old

Finding purpose in food for the lost 20 something year old:

How food fueled young activists to cycle across Canada empowering others to find meaning and reconnect with their health, environment and community through food.

Danielle Prapavessis,


Co-founder and speaker, Seed by Seed

October 9th 2012.

Email home titled: “I found my purpose-Food”

“…I am always confused as to what I care about but then I thought about food. It like connects us to everything. I had no idea. Poverty, health, economics, climate change, family, culture and resources. I think I need to work in/ with/ around FOOD”

July 17th 2013.

“Why don’t we bike across Canada…talk to people about the power of food?”

September 28th 2013.

“Hey mum… I am going to bike across Canada. I have a message to share.”

[long silence]… “no you are not”

May 7th 2014.

Woke up. Ate some oatmeal. Packed up my tent. Hopped on my bicycle. We headed east and peddled.

May 25th 2014.

Woke up. Ate some oatmeal. Packed up my tent. Rode to the local high school in Moose Jaw, AB. Parked my bike, got on stage. Held up two apples: a green one and a red one. I asked the 400 and something curious students one simple question

‘which apple would you chose?’

There is was. This is the question that has fueled my journey over the last three years.

So… what is it going to be? The red or green apple? What are you going to factor into your decision?

When we chose our food, we often base it on two factors: appearance and cost. We want food that looks familiar and unblemished; inexpensive and tasty. Most of us, however, do not question where our food is from, how it was grown, or how it was prepared. These three simple questions unveil a complex backstory that ties our food to some of the most pressing social justice and environmental issues of our time. What is the impact on our people and planet when we buy food that is grown on an industrialized farm lacking controls on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, farmers rights and regulations; food that is transported across the globe to be processed and packaged in facilities owned by megacorporation’s; governed by companies invested in pharmaceuticals, oil and branded by marketing agencies focusing solely on the bottom line to ensure that their product thrives in the capitalistic consumer market of North America?

At face value, we don’t see that these apples had tremendously different journey to get to my hands and that by choosing them; we are now a part of this story.

What happens when we are disconnected from food; one of the most intrinsic parts of human existence? The very thing that fuels our brains bodies and is an integral part of our days?

These questions fascinate me and sparked the creation of Seed by Seed, a non-profit organization that aims to reconnect people with their food. Through experiential workshops, educational speeches and action planning sessions, Seed by Seed has worked with thousands of students across both Canada and New-Zealand to facilitate participants to think about the back stories of their food.

This work is a part of the movement to empower people to re-prioritize food and more importantly allows individuals to addresses social and environmental challenges they care about. Food gives people purpose.

As a 20-year-something in the wandering phase of life, I am experiencing the chaos that comes with being a millennial. Information is abundant and at our finger tips. Our heads are infiltrated with catastrophic current events as they happen almost instantaneously. We are learning how to be critical of the world that was constructed by people of the past and we have been placed in a society that has a lot of work to do. It comes as no surprise that mental health is hard to nurture and anxiety is rampant. The life of a 20-year something is a challenge.

Now although these global issues are daunting; I truly believe that food enables us to live by our values and tackle the challenges we care about. Passionate about the environment? Reduce the miles your food has traveled and eat locally. Care about child labor? Eat food from countries with proper legislature on the rights of a child. Interested in water issues? Learn about the water consumed in the growth and preparation of your produce and meat. Health freak? Eat less processed food to avoid the crap used to make our food sweet, salty and long-lasting. How about the corporatization of our economy? Decentralize it by supporting certain brands and boycott mega corporations with your dollar. Care about relationships? Cook with people. Share a meal.

And suddenly… when we think about the backstories of our food, we become powerful. Excitingly, under this mentality, we get to be purposeful every time we eat. How incredible.

So I challenge you to think about your food and eat in a way that aligns with your values and enjoy one of the simplest pleasures of life- food.

Find out more about Seed by Seed by contacting Danielle:

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