The sharing of food has always been part of the human history. Eating as a common experience brings people together. The topic of food is therefore predestined to foster open care. Trying to find out more about this power of food culture in the context of open care, we went into the field primarily asking ourselves:
“How can food culture contribute to make people on the move feel at home wherever they are at that very moment?”
Amongst others we ended up talking to a 24 year-old guy from Syria and a girl from Korea about the same age. One of them had to flee home and the other moved for love.
We learned that missing the food one grew up with is a good motivation to become active: Both are regularly preparing the dishes they know from back home. It still belongs to their most favourite food and eating it makes them feel well and comfortable.
Than there is this whole topic of interactive food customs and traditions in public spaces. We heard about Syrian nights when the streets are being turned into living rooms. People drink tea, smoke, chat and even sleep outside. In Korea the young people often enjoy street food together when meeting up and in Morocco for example people gather in parks in the evenings and bring their tagine out to cook and mingle.
In the context of food and wellbeing we also found out, that eating out, when being new to a country, easily triggers uncomfortableness due to not being able to see the food preparation. Even though it was hard to tell whether this is because of hygienic concerns or dietary laws, it became clear that being able to cook for oneself and others definitely is a desire. A need which stays often unfulfilled in refugee camps, where food is often provided either by catering services or in canteens.
For more details on our research see the articles we posted on Edgeryders: