This one’s a campaign we can chew on. Literally.
I learned about it through an invitation to a bloggers’ event called “Tuesdate with the Good Food” last September 10 at Sev’s Café in Malate. The campaign is a joint project of Oxfam, an international non-profit organization that works with others to end poverty and human suffering in over 100 countries, and Dakila – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism. The latter is a group of artists, students and other individuals who advocate social transformation. Dakila means “great” or “noble,” and the group is committed to providing creative avenues to help unleash the inner hero in every individual.
The Good Food Project is the organizers’ campaign to raise awareness about brown rice as the healthier staple food choice while promoting sustainable agriculture and climate mitigation.
Truth is, I’ve been into brown rice for close to a year. I’ve read about its claimed health benefits, but because it is rather pricey, I usually combine it with white rice, which is cheaper. The September 10 event gave me more reasons to stick to the unpolished rather than its well-milled and ‘enriched’ white counterpart. Several justifications were presented that night to encourage the shift to brown rice. The following points, to me, were the most convincing:
The bran layer that gives brown rice its unpolished appearance contains essential nutrients that help prevent beri beri and diabetes. It also has anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties as well as fatty acids that help lower cholesterol levels. These benefits are lost with second or additional millings required to produce white rice.
Brown Rice is Good for the Environment
Because only one milling is needed to produce brown rice, fuel and energy consumption during the milling process is minimized. This means reduced carbon emission into the atmosphere. The organic way of producing brown rice helps eliminate the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals and thus spare the environment from toxic threats.
Brown Rice is Good for the Economy
The milling recovery of brown rice is 10% higher, which translates to potentially more sacks of rice available locally. In the long haul, if we have sufficient amounts of healthier rice, there will be less need to import from other countries.
The price of brown rice may be prohibitive for most people now, but with increased demand, the organizers are hopeful that this issue will, in time, be resolved. For an ordinary consumer like me, it means pikit mata for now. Pay the price for better health and country—go brown!
Ipat Luna, the owner of Sev’s Café and a brown rice advocate, served us delicious food using organic rice from the Cordilleras and other locally sourced ingredients. She also shared some insights about food miles and the need to buy local produce. Sev’s Cafe is among the local restaurants that serve organic brown rice in their menu. Sometime later I learned that it is also a community hub or pick-up point for Community Shared Agriculture. This arrangement allows one to buy farm-fresh organic veggies grown by Tarlac farmers and get them from Sev’s Café on Tuesday afternoons. I plan to explore this option soon.
As for The Good Food Project, of course I’m in.