From Nature To Plate
Good Health Magazine Australia|February 2020
Michelle Grant is committed to educating others about sustainable food consumption. She talks to erin fisher about what we can all do to lead a positive change
Erin Fisher

In the not-so-distant past, changing your lifestyle habits in the name of environmental protection and sustainability was extremely alternative and might have earned you a badge of “greenie”, “hippie” or “eco-warrior”. Fast forward to 2020 and the game has changed.

In light of all the alarming climate change and environmental damage as the human population continues to expand, adopting habits that have Mother Nature in mind is just common sense. To drive less, go plastic-free, pay more attention to where your clothes are made, or start a compost system are not just accepted choices, they are encouraged and applauded. It’s almost a sin to drink from a plastic straw or arrive at the supermarket without carrying your reusable tote bag.

One area of life that is intricately woven into our daily existence, wellbeing and the health of the planet – but hasn’t been central in the sustainability discussion until fairly recently – is what we choose to put on our plates.

As an award-winning food systems specialist and educator for 15 years, Australian-born Michelle Grant is at the forefront of this conversation. Backed by a hefty list of credentials in chemical and environmental engineering, management, technology and economics, Michelle was the founding executive director of the World Food System Centre at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

She has designed and delivered international graduate-level education programs around food systems and sustainability, secured millions of dollars’ worth of funding and supported more than 30 research projects, and worked on solutions to global issues.

Although she handed over the position in 2018, she continues as education director, recently launched her own online platform, and has now written her first book, The Great Full: Sustainable Eating with Purpose and Joy. Having read her fair share of unengaging (or extremely depressing) reports, Michelle knew she wanted to provide something for the everyday person that tackled issues of food and sustainability with a sense of joy and purpose, rather than doom.

“Food is such an emotional, cultural topic and I really wanted to create something that would help people navigate this space. It doesn’t have to be so overwhelming,” she says.

A compilation of powerful insights, encouraging lifestyle tips and lots of recipes, she hopes it will empower people to eat, live and lead in a way that fosters greater wellbeing for individuals and wider communities.

See the connection

Where humans used to grow their own food in tight-knit village communities and be intimately involved with the process from farm to table, it’s now easy to wolf down a plate of food without giving a second thought to the people and processes behind each morsel.

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