High Profile Magazine
Marcela has worked with multinationals leading the way in sustainability (Unilever, Quorn, Divine Chocolate, the UK’s highest-ranking BCorp), and as a food entrepreneur seeking to transform how we produce and consume food. Marcela is studying a Masters in Sustainability Leadership at Cambridge University, specialising in circular, regenerative agricultural models.
This is an incredibly important topic; in fact, our very existence may well depend on this notion. Before you roll your eyes and think that this is a bit far-fetched, please read on… and let me know what you think.
The first thing to do is put forward my definition of spirituality. I’d like to define spirituality as our sense of connection with something bigger than ourselves, and it doesn’t necessarily have to involve religion. Now, let’s begin.
The modern industrial agricultural system is in crisis today. People are raising questions about the safety, sustainability and quality of the food produced from the current industrialised food systems. Many sense a deep disconnect between the beauty of nature and the human-made methods that require poisoning any insects that could damage the crops, and with this practice, soils and water tables end up polluted; because of this, important species critical for our survival, pollinators being just one example, are collateral damage. People are also questioning the wisdom of modern agriculture, as science has eventually succeeded in taking the sacred out of farming.
The scientific community warns that humanity faces a sixth mass extinction in this century if it does not address climate change and the overexploitation of the planet’s natural resources. As one million species face risk of extinction, David Attenborough explores how this crisis of biodiversity has consequences for us all, including putting us at greater risk of pandemic diseases - and agriculture plays the leading role in this crisis. We must “fix” agriculture.
Yet, humans need nature in every aspect of our lives, and Covid-19 has made this more apparent. The UK government Natural England’s new People and Nature Survey has revealed that during 2020, almost nine in 10 adults in England reported that protection of the environment is important to them personally, and 75% of adults were concerned about biodiversity loss in England. Parks, woodlands and rivers have played a really important part in helping us all through the coronavirus pandemic, with almost nine in 10 of adults in England reporting that being in nature makes them “very happy”. I always experience a deep sense of joy and connection when I am in nature, do you?
On the positive side, the crises bring opportunities for change – and in this case, we need radical change. One such change could be the realisation that as humans, nature is an integral part of our being, we are a product of it, and we are dependent on it. Making a link between our connection with nature and how what we put on our plates was grown is imperative: to have an understanding that, to be healthy in mind, body and spirit, it is essential to be spiritually connected to the food we eat, not take it for granted, and to relish the experience of eating.
Here are some ideas of things that we can all do:
Grow our own food (even if it’s from pots and windowsills!)
Try to eat less fish, because the way fish is caught is very damaging to seabeds and marine wildlife. Farmed fish tend to be more damaging as the fish themselves are prone to diseases and have a lot of chemicals that damage the marine environment – and you.
Eat more local food, from farmers’ markets.
Eat more plants!
Eating more mindfully > helping nature > helping our connection with nature > spirituality.