Food is universal, and every culture has stories of how food is connected to peace and conflict. Because identity and cultural issues play such a big part in violent conflicts today, the symbolic value of food in peacebuilding can be enormous.
We, at InterChange, are collecting and sharing experiences about how food and drink are used to build peace in our communities. Our online column is a collection of stories, recipes, pictures, songs, poems and snippets of information.
This initiative started with a casual conversation. Some of us were in Nairobi, Kenya for 5 days of intensive meetings. An excellent local caterer came in to prepare food for us and during one of the meals, the conversation naturally turned to food. Noticing that no matter where we come from in the world, people love to talk about food, one of us suggested we make a recipe book. From there we started talking about different ways food can be used to build peace. And gradually we realized that we were serious about this idea: we wanted to create a collection of stories of how food can be used for peacebuilding.
We would also welcome your contribution! It can come from your family traditions, your culture, your community, or your own personal experiences. They can be about how food builds peace through the sharing, preparation, and even growing of food.
We need everyone’s help to make this project a success! Just like the Eastern European folk tale “Stone Soup,” where all the villagers contribute food items to create a delicious soup, creating and sharing an ongoing Food and Peace column together is part of building peace.
Contact Rebecca Ballen to make a submission, discuss your ideas, provide translations, or share resources at email@example.com.