“They don’t care about us”. This is the name of Michael Jackson’s video clip, recorded in 1996,
at Santa Marta’s hill, Rio de Janeiro. Last sunday, November 4 th , 22 years after that visit, Social
Gastronomy Summit Rio’s guests where at the same spot and showed: yes, they care. The
Santa Marta’s samba school was the appointed place, where the project Comida é Afeto
fostered a discussion on food consumption, hunger and a systematic view on eating habits.
The event was part of the construction of a Social Gastronomy global community, sharing the
belief that food is a powerful tool for social change.

The activity started in a circle, where the participants could get to know each other better,
looking into their eyes and observing their differences and similarities. After this first moment,
the members of Comida é Afeto explained the goals of their project: combining an information
ideology, sensitization and social practice, they aspire to encourage a review of all the relations
involved in the food consumption chain. “Food is a common wealth, a non-negotiable right.
However, at same time, it is a commodity. Inside this global and hegemonic system,
agribusiness holds 74,7% of the labour analogue to slavery occurrence in Brazil. Even though
the country has continental dimensions, the sector focuses monocultures, instead of growing
food for the population, such as beans, rice and cassava roots. We share the soil for the
production of commodity, fuel and other exportation items”, explains Juliana Dias, professor at
Comida é Afeto and researcher on education, science and health in her post-doctorate at the
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).

Juliana also talked about Brazil’s current situation of having left FAO’s Hunger Map 4 years ago,
but imminent risk of going back. To her, there is “ an important correlation between hunger
and extreme poverty”, as well as “our food being connected to territory and culture”.
Founder of Comida é Afeto, the communicator Cláudia Lima tries to bring a perspective of how
“obesity and hunger aren’t simple problems, and don’t have only one way out. The industry is
part of a result that us, as society, produced based on our individual choices. We must have a
global vision, in order to boost the discussion over this matter.”

After the round of conversation, the participants debated on how to build environments that
favor a healthier feeding system. Cláudia concluded mentioning the importance of making
these different realities and cultures exchanges happen: “It’s important for all of us. We only
march forward alongside diversity – the diverse views, stories and the discomfort. If we don’t
have dialogues between different people, we don’t open space for this diversity exchange and,
as a whole, we lose a lot. We don’t evolve. Only through empathy, looking through each
others’ eyes, we are able to reach a new path.”

Text: Lucas Mathias

Photos: Junior Albuquerque