Zayaan Khan, 31, believes that food is not just what we put on the table: it is the central point of transformation.
Until recently she worked as a horticulturalist at the Surplus People Project, a decades-old organisation supporting community struggles for food sovereignty and equitable land ownership.
She is now a South Africa co-ordinator for the Slow Food Youth Network, a global network advocating for sustainable, high-quality food production, protecting biodiversity and eliminating capitalist growth in the food industry.
Here she fights for seed sovereignty – the right for farmers to breed, save and exchange seeds – against the World Intellectual Property Organisation and multinational food companies, which create unnatural hybrids and destructive monocultures, and see food as a commodity.
She is also an expert on entomophagy, or the eating of insects as food, which, she says, is partly about reviving South African indigenous food culture that was lost with colonisation.
Simultaneously, she is doing her master’s in environmental humanities at the University of Cape Town and is the co-founder of the Apocalypse Pantry, a food activism blog.
Food is the most contentious and political thing, she says, but in the end, it’s all about finding hope in the madness.
* #StoriesofHope is a partnership between TYI and TPA, The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment.
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