The GROW Method: Ways to feed your family and fix the broken food system

Rosie Cowling

Blog post by Rosie Cowling

Oxfam Great Britain, Global Digital Campaigner
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Every decision you make in the supermarket and in the kitchen, from which bananas to buy, to where to store apples at home, has a big impact. Your choices when it comes to food may seem small and inconsequential, but they make you a part of the ‘global food system.’

We talk a lot about the food system in the GROW campaign. But what exactly is it and how are we part of it?

The food system is the big names; the food companies, governments and organisations, but most of all it's people. People that grow the food, but also all people that buy it and eat it. So that's, well, everyone. When we talk about the food system, we're talking about you.

The food system isn't working. The result? Some rather scary statistics on obesity levels in developed countries (50% in some countries) coupled with the fact that 1 in 7 people elsewhere in the world go to bed hungry every night. Problems with the food system can affect every one of us, with rising food prices meaning millions of families are having to make changes to what goes into the shopping basket.

Small steps, big changes

How can we fix the food system? If the system is all of us, and the huge corporations are running the show, that's a pretty daunting task, right? Well it doesn't have to be.

We, as consumers, have a massive influence on the food system. The choices we continue to make ensure that things happen a certain way. Collectively, we have the power to change the system as it stands by making positive steps in our daily routines to demand better and ensure a positive future where everyone has enough to eat.

If we all start to make small changes to the way we buy and eat, to protect the natural resources we rely on and ensure support for the farmers doing the hard work, the current system that is failing us will be pushed out to be replaced by one that supports everyone.

Trust us, you're pretty powerful. It was you who made campaigns like Make Trade Fair a global household name. And you can use that power again.

What if?

If you have ever made a choice when it comes to buying, storing or eating food, you are powerful. Don’t believe us? Just look at how big an impact your individual action can have:

What If: we swapped beef for beans once a week?

If urban households in the US, UK, Spain and Brazil were to swap beef for beans in their chilli once a week for a year, the greenhouse gas emissions saved would be equivalent to taking 3.7 million cars off the road.

What if: we kept apples in the fridge instead of the fruit basket?

Keeping apples in the fridge keeps them fresher for longer and can save 1 in 6 apples being sent to landfill in some countries, creating harmful greenhouse gases. The emissions created by the 5.3 billion apples a year wasted in Brazil, India, Spain, the Philippines, UK and US is equivalent to burning 10 million barrels of oil.

Share your food stories

Stories about food, about how things grow and why we eat them, have become lost, because the way food is distributed makes it hard for us to think about the source. We want to revive the story of food. Over the next few months, we want you to share stories about how you cook and how you’re making a difference to the way your family thinks about the things they eat.

Food is what we all share. It's something that brings us all together. And it's an excellent place to start when it comes to building a better, fairer and more sustainable future. That’s why over the next few months we’re going to share with you some easy ways to feed your family and help to mend the broken food system; together we call them the GROW Method:

There may be broken links in the food chain but your buying power makes you a mighty and strong one. And we think everyone demands better.

Related links

How you can do more with: The GROW Method

Read the report: The Food Transformation: Harnessing consumer power to create a fair food future

Pin your #GROWmethod recipe