"The Movement" POWER of FOOD for Social Change & Re-Connecting with Nicola Gryczka
Updated: May 25, 2021
I met Nicola 'Nicky' Gryczka at the end of my 'officia'l 1 year sabbatical after leaving the corporate world in 2009. I really could not imagine returning to grey cubicles, blue carpets and fish bowl windows to view the world through anymore. I was trying to reconcile my new found freedom while simoultaneously earning a living which would extend my sabbatical lifestyle a little longer. A friend had recommended a sales role which would support the nomad travel lifestyle (It was part of the job as you were assigned to a new country every 1 to 4 months), rub elbows with CEOs and government officials all while earning a living. It was during this job interview that I met Nicky Gryczka. The competition was fierce and we had already been selected from a crowd of applicants but only a few would make it after a few days of an intensive selection process which involved preparation of country reports, interviews and presentations. We had an instant connection, that aha realisation moment when you just know you're "cut from the same cloth". We were both extremely competitive, perfectionist and Type A personality all the way. Easy going all smiles and we even shared the curls to go with it. We both got the job and many months later would be assigned to a project in Mexico together, where we continued to bond working hard, playing polo, meeting some interesting people and devouring through Mexico's divine cuisine.
While I had a former classic corporate America background, Nicky had a hospitality background and had previously worked at The World Economic Forum. Areas I knew nothing about but was very curious to hear her stories about the various NGOs she had worked with and the inspirational people she had encountered through her work at the Forum. After Mexico we didn't see each other for many years and our lives took different directions although we managed to overlap in Sweden and later in Sao Paulo for brief catch-ups.
Most recently, our paths randomly crossed again during my usual Miami transit stop from South America to Europe. Thanks to social media, we realised we were in the same city and Nicky simply said come out to join us for "The Movement" In an instant, I found myself surrounded by some pretty inspirational and dynamic people who all shared the common goal of "The Movement". Introductions went something like this "So you are also here for "The Movement?"" Nicky, had neglected to brief me ahead of time and so the whole "Movement" unravelled in parts as the evening went on. Everyone I met had taken personal time from their busy schedules and personally funded their trip to participate in this 3 day brainstorming session in Miami, Florida. The Movement is centred around the power of FOOD and how it can be a Catalyst for Global Change.
During the time spent in Miami, this dynamic group of people personally picked vegetables from an organic garden and then cooked and personally served the gourmet food they made to the homeless at Camillus House, a homeless shelter in Downtown Miami. This really touched me as it brought me back to my high school days in Miami when my friends and I would prepare peanut butter sandwiches with our own pocket money to gift to the homeless that lined up outside of Camillus House. There is so much depth to what both Gastromotiva and the Social Gastronomy Movement are doing that I thought what better way than to have Nicky explain herself what this "movement" is all about. In this Q&A she takes us through this new direction and passion which she is personally involved with.
What is Gastromotiva?
And what is your current role at Gastromotiva?
Gastromotiva is a social organisation based in Brasil that operates in 4 countries using food and education as a tool for social change. I am the CEO of Gastromotiva and I am the Social Gastronomy 'Movement' Coordinator.
Through free vocational kitchen training, entrepreneurial classes, nutrition and sustainable food education, food waste programs and the sole creation of opportunities, we empower and inspire those living on the margins of society and invest in young talent.
How did Gastromotiva end up supporting this new Social Gastronomy Movement? How did this idea evolve? What was the defining moment when you knew that there was a potential for a "New" movement?
Since David Hertz started Gastromotiva in 2006 he felt the necessity to create an open and multi-dimensional space for co-creation of human centered solutions related to crucial topics on food and gastronomy.
In the last years, this sensation has grown stronger and different opportunities have presented themselves. One of them was the Ashoka Globalizer Acceleration Program in which David had the opportunity to meet partners coming from different backgrounds. They started to work together in order to co-create the Social Gastronomy Movement (SGM).
After different meetings and workshops, the core team defined several action steps in order to turn the Movement into a reality. In January 2018, during the World Economic Forum in Davos the Movement was announced. The diverse audience gave valuable feedback, which was taken into account for the first step of the Movement. The Step 1 took place in Mallorca, Spain, where the group of initiators clarified the next steps of the Movement. There the tone was set and different projects within the SGM defined.
The second step of the Movement took place in Miami, April 2018.
The initial idea of that meeting was to invite 20-25 high-level individuals to participate to the conversation, but in the end 70 participants from all over the world decided to join us for the 3 days meeting. When we got all these confirmations, we realized the momentum was now, and the need for a new, human centered movement
SOCIAL GASTRONOMY 'MOVEMENT' MISSION is a human centered solution to generate opportunity, dignity and inclusion through vocational training and education.
We are individuals who care as much about humanity and dignity as we do about food and its preparation. We started as a network of chefs and food industry professionals, however we believe that everyone has a responsibility to make our food system not only sustainable but also more democratic and inclusive. As a Global Movement we aim to drive and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with concrete actions to create a healthy, empowered and equitable world by 2030, leaving no one behind:
1 Zero Poverty
2 Zero Hunger
3 Good Health and well-being
12 Responsible Consumption and Production
11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
17 Partnerships for the Goals)
in January 2018, during the World Economic Forum in Davos the Movement was officially announced and Gastromotiva received $1.5 in support to the creation of the Social Gastronomy Movement.
What was the intention of the Social Gastronomy Movement Social gathering in Miami? Who was in attendance and What were some the activities that you engaged in?
The objective of the meeting was to polish concepts and shape the movement. We aimed to actively engage participants to be part of the movement.
For this key step, the network of the core team was united. The participants elected are some of the most brilliant minds this industry has to offer, and were invited to attend the gathering with an open heart. The group was constituted of trusted individuals with different backgrounds and similar objectives. Among them were chefs, social entrepreneurs, activists, university professors, global organization representatives and industry leaders.
The meeting was held in a celebration style; it offered a safe space to foster solutions. The three days were focused on co-creation; the goal was to build bridges and to drive this Movement together. The first day was a learning journey for the participants with the objective to understand the meaning of Social Gastronomy by experimenting with it. The meeting lasted for 3 days.
Day 1 : We started by picking vegetables in a farm that were afterwards transformed into a dinner for 250 homeless people in Miami. The next 2 days were dedicated to brainstorming.
Day 2: We defined Social Gastronomy and elaborated why a Movement is necessary, and what should be its objectives.
Day 3: We organized ourselves in working groups for different projects.
What was the final outcome of the gathering and where does the movement go from here?
The final outcome was different working groups for different projects. We have a clearer idea on how the Movement can look like and it´s power/potential and how to get more people engaged.
We have a few next steps and events in the Pipeline. The next big event will be held in Rio de Janeiro, October 2018. We will bring together Social Gastronomy project beneficiaries, people who had their lives changed trough Social Gastronomy. We want to hear from them how the projects affected them and discuss how the Movement can benefit more communities.
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