What if, together, we conquered loneliness?
A survey published recently by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that 22 percent of adults in the US feel isolated and without a circle of friends or social network. If accurate, that could be 72,000,000 Americans. We're at an epidemic level of health declines, in part because people are feeling lonely. The isolation that can come from loneliness creates the perfect Petri dish for chronic disease.
It seems like friendship food is a solution we haven't yet mastered to reduce loneliness in our communities. Food has so many facets - recipe selection, shopping, meal prep, food hacks, serving and eating. It crosses cultures and ages and it is what we have in common (or should). So, wouldn't food or the processes of growing, harvesting, preparing and consuming food be ideal platform to reduce loneliness in our communities?
Let's call it friendship food. To be clear, this is not gathering an existing social network, but rather expanding that network or creating a new one. This is about reaching out to a neighbor, a colleague or even a family member to join you in one of the many facets of food. This is about reaching out to another human being to connect. This is about looking into each others eyes, reading body language, listening and learning together. This is about socializing and the fundamentals of reconnecting humans.
John Naisbitt's, Megatrends, is where the author touted the prediction of "high tech/high touch", which basically laid out that the more tech influenced, the more we would need touch (social connection). The challenge today, it seems, is that we're way out of balance. We have far too much technology, which isolates us. We have far too few avenues for human connection. Just think about the number of people you communicate with through texts, but you never hear their voices or see their faces.. Is this human connection?
Friendship Food can be considered a campaign of sorts with a goal of becoming viral, but the outcome is simple. To have an impact on conquering loneliness.
Just a few ideas on how to be a Friendship Food ambassador.
Ride Along: Ask someone if they want a ride to a store or market and make it a routine to take them along once a week or once a month.
Increase your recipes by one meal and deliver it on a routine basis to share a nutritious meal ....and a connection.
Establish a routine for a community meal with roles for everyone and a clear goal of making sure nobody is left behind and all are welcome.
Visualize the outcome as a community that grows its collective well being through Friendship Food. Guaranteed the benefits are yours to gain.
P.S. Don't be shy to enlist support from your local food supply chain. Don't be shy to enlist your local grower or harvester. Don't be shy to enlist your local nutritionist, naturopath, health coach, etc. Remember, loneliness has a direct correlation to health and Friendship Food's purpose is to improve overall health and well-being of one or more new friends, in our community. And yes..... we're talking nutrient-dense food, of course.