“It has become increasingly clear to me that we need a particular field of caring about the Earth which is taught directly through food education”, Barny Haughton.
What is your job about?
The Square Food Foundation is a cookery school where we teach people from all walks of life to cook proper food. We deliver fun, hands-on, informative, sociable and above all delicious courses and workshops to adults and children. We teach people with mental health issues, the cooks from care homes and we work with primary schools, older people. Those are the underlying principles of the work we do.
What issues do you address?
- Everyone can have an impact through food. It’s a part of every day life.
- We spend 13 billion pounds a year on pharmaceuticals in this country. If we could help people be healthier through food we could have a major impact on that. Its about human health as well as soil health.
- I want people to make healthier choices and understand more about food, loving food and making socially and environmentally responsible choices.
- Supporting sustainable growing systems. As soon as you introduce people to lovely produce they want to go to markets and seek those things out.
- We want to make an impact and a difference.
What moved you to take action?
I think it’s a romantic attachment to a way of life, that I feel is precious. I used to talk about.
What motivates me is the horror of what we see ahead, it’s a driver for me to want to turn the ship around. You draw inspiration from people and from leaders in this. There are people all over the UK whether they are poets, gardeners, cooks, prophets who we can all learn from.
What were the obstacles that you had to overcome?
- One of the biggest obstacles, apart from the reluctance of systems to take into account food education is around attitudes to change.
- Square Food Foundation is based in Knowle West there is a much lower life expectancy there. The challenge is from the community itself. There are always people coming in and telling people what to do. The capacity for these well established communities to change is a real challenge. We have to be really effective at communicating. Telling stories is critical.
What helped you keep going in hard times?
There is no point in doing something and hoping, you have to have an idea of what you are doing and know that is really is making a difference. People in Knowle West are starting to grow their own foods and recognize healthy soils. People are making connections. Our tagline is conversations, connections and choices.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being very happy) where would you rate how you feel about your life?
It varies this morning 6 and now 9