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Inspiring voices: Interviews on food and sustainability with Kirsten K. Shockey.



Today we're thrilled to announce a new project for The Preserve Journal Blog: "Inspiring voices: Interviews on food and sustainability". With this series of interviews we wish to highlight, support and strengthen the links and the inherent connections between us all- our causes, our visions and our work. We wish to bring attention to the people doing inspiring, important, fascinating and rebellious work and to the way in which they are all working in different ways towards building, growing and shaping a more sustainable food culture. By highlighting their important work we hope to show that alternatives do indeed exist, and to allow for these alternatives to become "the constant reminder that choices are there to be made, and to be imagined" (Raj Patel, 2007).


For this very first interview we proudly to introduce Kirsten K. Shockey from Ferment Works.


1) In your own words please introduce yourself and your work. "I am Kirsten K. Shockey and I ferment things!” This sounds like a introduction from a self-help group, which makes me laugh as in a way it is like that. I am always scheming on what is possible — partly for preservation, partly for flavor, and partly because I am always curious how the microbes will affect the food. I also teach fermentation world-wide in experiential based classes because ultimately I want to see food systems change and see people take control of their food.  2) What does “sustainable food” mean to you?

Food that is grown (organically and GMO free) and produced and distributed in ways that do not hurt the planet and that these good foods are available to all, in all income levels. I would love everyone access to foods that are not loaded with ingredients that make them sick.That is a very tall order looking at the current food system.  3) What are your visions and dreams for a more sustainable and responsible food culture? I feel that there are so many dreams of a good food system — I don’t even know where to start. I think given the planetary crisis that is the first place. Production, processing, movement, and consumption that helps with all the waste and carbon released—after all food systems are at the top of the list of fixes and if we don’t have a functioning planet we simply cannot have function food systems and functioning people. I think that there is not a one size fits all answer to any of it of it but I do feel like people eating more fermented foods, especially beans and grains and eating meat that is well raised (a big ask given most isn’t) which means choosing plant-centered foods more often, is a start. The change needs to sweep across enough people that the systems listen and adjust. Good healthy guts makes happier healthy people who make better decisions and I have to believe this to carry on and have hope. 


4) How is your work connected to this vision? One person, one gut at a time, eating and choosing better more sustainable food.  5) In your eyes, where lies the biggest potential for us as consuming humans to impact change and help shape a more sustainable food culture? I touched on this above, while I don’t think everyone needs to go vegetarian, animals have their place in a healthy food system, I do think we need to go back to where a daily diet is high on grains, beans, veggies and the meat is a very small portion of what is consumed. In traditional systems meat was the little extra, or the tasty fringe that accompanied all the plants that made up the bulk. If we ate less meat and less often and more plants, it would be a huge change. I think that given fermenting grains and beans make they exceedingly healthy and make us healthy that as humans feeling better we could do big things.  6) Where can people learn more about your work and engage with it? Online: Ferment.works

Instagram: @ferment.works & @kirstenkshockey

And of course our books — Fermented Vegetables, Fiery Ferments, and Miso, Tempeh, Natto and other Tasty Ferments 7) Anything else you'd like to share? I like to think of a science experiment that was done on mice. Those with a healthy microbiome had hope and those with a compromised one gave up. The healthy-gut mice and the gut unhealthy mice were put in a pool of water. Those with the good gut kept swimming — they had hope. The others stopped swimming quickly. 



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An independent print magazine dedicated to the exploration of a more sustainable, responsible, resilient and transparent food culture.

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