All you need is love. And food.

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My last blogpost was entitled ‘All you need is love.’

I’ve always thought that that was utter rubbish.

Of course all you need isn’t love. Love alone isn’t enough. It’s never enough.

Because you need to eat too. Regardless of where you’re from, what colour your skin is or even what species you are, you need to eat.

In thinking about social change (as I so often do), this magic stuff of life keeps cropping up. Food. Music. Dance. Love.

But mostly food.

I went to a market in Lagos (Portugal) last Saturday. Markets are some of my favourite places to go when I travel. It was such a delight. Each stall was run by an individual, sometimes young, but often older. They sold just what they grew, which was usually just enough to sell at the market. Their bronze, wrinkled faces were baked with sunshine and wholesome-ness. The market attracted folk of all ages, both locals and ex-pats alike. It was like a bustling heart of this small town, alive with life and excitement and food.

Saturday Markets in Lagos

When we’re trying to create social change systems, I worry that we often do it backwards. We focus on the problems, and then try and cajole people into the solutions that we think work.

I have a creeping belief that we should start with the ‘stuff of life’ in order to bring about the change we need to see. Start with the things people love already; food, sex, music. The rest will follow. Homelessness, climate change, crime, drugs, women’s empowerment, education, employment. The list could go on. I’ve seen awesome projects that tackle these issues, that start with the stuff of life first.

There are three talks I’d like to share about food in particular: Pam Warhurst, with her passionate, warm rally, delivered with a Northern lilt. And Ron Finley, deep and grave and pit-of-your-tummy inspiring. And my own favourite, Eleanor Hoad, the gem of TEDxBrum in 2012.

I’d like to keep thinking about this stuff. Food and kitchens and growing and cooking. Shout me if you’d like to chat about any of it further.

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