Linking Peace and Food Security Research

Irena Knezevic was one of the students in the PeaceMeal Project‘s first cohort of students for the online course offered through the National Peace Academy. Here, she describes her work with FoodARC and a presentation she gave to tie in her learning from the course with her professional life in food security research.

FoodARC is a food security research centre at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (We were formerly known as the Participatory Action Research and Training Centre on Food Security.) Our research is community-based and action oriented.  We also train students and create opportunities for mutual learning among researchers, community members, and policy makers.


Here at FoodARC we look at food from many angles – we focus on food security, but see how we define it:
“Food security exists when everyone has access to safe, nutritious food of the variety and amount that they need and want, in a way that maintains their dignity. Food security also exists when people are able to earn a living wage by growing, producing, processing, handling, selling, and serving food, as well as when our planet is protected for future generations.”
Clearly, by focusing on one concern – food security – we in fact encompass a range of issues. Affordability, farmers and fishers’ livelihoods, processing and distribution, ecology, food skills, community engagement with food, policy and social justice – we are interested in all of that.
We recently hosted a brown-bag lunch with three presentations. One graduate student (Nadia Pabani) presented on her work with PhotoVoice – an innovative method meant to inspire creative contributions from research participants. Another graduate student (Kendra Read) spoke about her collaboration with the national student organization Meal Exchange and the work she is doing in the area of “knowledge mobilization” – the process of turning research findings into action.
My role in this session was to present on my recent experience of taking the PeaceMeal online course. My presentation notes will give you a glimpse of my reflection on the course, but they will not quite do the justice to the course, or properly portray how the course helped me make connections between peace-building and what I do. How, one may wonder, are food security research and peace-building connected?

A Poem for Peace

Thank you to guest contributor Robert Hicks from St. Catharines, Ontario, for this lovely contribution to our peaceful food efforts!

there is as much hunger for peace in this world
as there is for bread.
 starves us all.

there is as much love in the home of your enemy
as there is in your own.
love unites us all.

there is as much need for understanding
in this world as there is for forgiveness.
reconciliation can save us all.

to satisfy the worlds hunger for peace
we must feed ourselves with good judgment,
we must feed our governments with good advice,
and we must feed all others with tolerance, goodwill, compassion and respect.

we must make our voices more powerful
than the most powerful weapon on earth.

we must and we can make peace now!   


Ever heard of ‘foodism’?  Sounds like buddhism with a food-y twist.  As I walked around Montreal, I was so pleased to stumble across this painted on the exterior wall of a building on St. Laurent, and the latter one inside a vegetarian restaurant called Lola Rosa.  Montreal’s got mindful food on the mind and on the walls!

Are You Hungry for Peace?

I sure am.  And what a pleasant discovery to know that Food Not Bombs has published a handbook to this effect, detailing tips and techniques for nonviolent direct action to contribute to their effort to help end war and poverty.  Of course, we know there is not singular answer to resolving these great complex questions, but a handbook with ideas for action is always a welcome tool in the struggle.

Click here to read the full Hungry for Peace book


Mindful Eating Workshops in Toronto

Upcoming mindful eating workshops hosted by the Centre for Mindfulness Studies:

Learn the essentials of practicing mindful eating in this introductory workshop.

Mindfulness in eating is about paying attention in the present moment to the preparing and consuming of food. But, how often do we do that? How often are we rushing through meals, eating at our desk or distracted by to-do lists, and not noticing what we are eating or how much?

There is a way to bring back enjoyment and balance to food and eating. In this seminar, you will:

  • Learn how mindfulness has been applied to eating.
  • Experience mindfulness and mindful eating practices.
  • Explore hunger awareness: looking at the seven types of hunger that trigger us to eat.
  • Take away practical tips for bringing mindful eating into your life.

Tuesday, Oct. 2  | 9:30 a.m. — 12 noon
Tuesday, Nov. 13 | 9:30 a.m. — 12 noon

Gwen Morgan MA MSW RSW, Marsha Feldt BSc RD CDE, and Lisa Goodman MA Counselling Psych.

The Centre for Mindfulness Studies
180 Sudbury Street
Toronto, ON M6J 0A

Please register one week in advance of the session you wish to attend.

Fee: $35 per session

Raisin Meditation


Raisin Meditation

This photo was taken at our first PeaceMeal workshop in Colorado in February 2013. This week, our first online cohort of PeaceMeal students are working through a module on inner peace and food. They are also practising the raisin meditation. Join them by listening to the guided meditation suggested here.

Only 1 Day to Go! PeaceMeal Challenge: Sustainability Sunday

With only one day to go until the launch of our Online Course, we’re absolutely delighted to share our final PeaceMeal Challenge:

Sustainability Sunday

Connected to absolutely everything, and a terribly over-used word these days, we want to think about what sustainability means and how it might look in its connections to food and to peace.  How do we know what we need or want to sustain? Is our current food system sustainable? How do we make it so? How do we foster behaviours and actions that lead to sustained peace?

The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency defines sustainability this way:

Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.

Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have,  the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.

Your challenge: Find a friend and have a conversation about what sustainability really means, and brainstorm a short list of ways that you can contribute to the cause, whether it’s switching disposables plates and napkins for ceramics and cloth, drinking shade-grown or fairly-traded coffee, shopping at a local food co-op, or growing your own windowboxes of herbs!

If you’re still hoping to join us for the course, we have a few spots left! Register here and join us as we get into deeper conversations about peace and food at the personal, interpersonal, societal, political, and global levels!

PeaceMeal Challenge: Wesukipukosu Wednesday

There are 5 days left until our National Peace Academy PeaceMeal online course begins!

Today’s challenge: Wesukipukosu Wednesday

You might be wondering, “What on earth is Wesukipukosu?”  More widely known as Labrador Tea, Wesukipukosu is a Cree term meaning ‘bitter herbs.’  The evergreen shrub has been a staple hot drink of Northern peoples since the first humans crossed from Asia to America.  The tea is made by lightly steeping cleaned, crushed, dried leaves.  It acts as a mild digestive and perks up one’s appetite and is enjoyed by many across North America.

Moving from the sphere of inner peace that we’ve been exploring for Mindful Monday and Tasty Tuesday, we’re using Wednesday to move onward to topic of culture.  Your challenge?

Identify a food that is native to your culture or to your environment or geography.  Do a little bit of research to learn more about it’s history, how it is grown and/or prepared, and take some time to reflect upon its importance. If you can, find some to make and enjoy on your own or with loved ones.