Professor, filmmaker vacation across B.C., Alberta to examine the therapeutic electrical power of food stuff

For Tammara Soma, growing up, foodstuff was “a resource of concern.”

“I had an having disorder when I was younger,” Soma said in an interview with Gloria Macarenko on CBC’s The Early Edition on Thursday.

It wasn’t till she started operating in producing sustainable and equitable food stuff devices did she start out to see food as a supply of therapeutic. 

“Food stuff is therapeutic in so a lot of means. It heals one’s overall body. It heals one’s spirit. It also strengthens one’s cultural id.

“But most importantly, it provides individuals together,” Soma states in her documentary, Food items is my Trainer, which she co-wrote and co-directed with award-profitable Canadian filmmaker Brandy Yanchyk.

In an work to understand additional about how food stuff could be a supply of adore and therapeutic, Soma, an assistant professor and the exploration director and co-founder of the Foodstuff Devices Lab at Simon Fraser College, travelled throughout B.C. and Alberta for the documentary, meeting with numerous communities to uncover the cultural interactions they have with food items.

Observe the entire documentary right here: 

Here’s an excerpt of her dialogue with Macarenko, wherever she talks about Foods is my Instructor — streaming on CBC Gem as part of the Certainly Canadian sequence.

This file has been edited for size and clarity.


What about the title of this doc, Foods is my Teacher — why is that? 

I’m a professor at SFU, so I am a instructor. But I realize foodstuff is just one of the biggest instructors.

It can educate us about the earth,and other folks in other cultures. But most importantly, from my journey in undertaking this documentary with Brandy Yanchyk, meals can educate us about enjoy.

And that is the information that I hope to spread through this documentary.

Tammara Soma is sitting in a garden in a purple outfit, picking what looks like a green berry. She has a woven basket in her lap.
Tammara Soma says she experienced a demanding partnership with meals developing up, and it wasn’t right until she begun doing the job in building sustainable and equitable foods systems did she commence to perspective food as a resource of therapeutic. (CBC Gem / Absolutely Canadian)

How do you go about that? 

In this documentary I journey across Alberta and British Columbia and I fulfill with these wonderful leaders from Indigenous local community leaders to Sikh leaders, Muslim, Chinese, Filipino, Polish. And they all share a very little little bit about how they use food to recover communities, to learn and maintain their language and their id, and basically to split stigma.

There is certainly a lot of loathe. There is certainly a great deal of rigidity out there. But we are endorsing unity.

I know this is a labour of enjoy for you since you analyze food items and foodstuff security for a residing. As you might be traveling to these many communities, as you happen to be speaking to these individuals, what stands out for you? 

I think what stands out for me is a ton of these communities on the ground, they’re performing so a great deal with extremely minimal resources. 

With communities like the Filipino business in the Rocky Mountains … this specific association of Filipino staff were being laid off all through the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with all their problems, they ended up out there supporting their communities, generating hamper bags of culturally correct foodstuff. And it truly is just kind of astounding to see how there is so considerably love and so considerably resiliency amidst every thing.

What was that practical experience like for you, listening to all these distinctive perspectives?

I cried a good deal. 

I was so touched. I acquired so much from all of the incredible leaders and most importantly, in the scenario of Vancouver, finding out from Indigenous professionals Stop Wyss and Senaqwila Wyss.

I just acquired much more about the effects of household faculties, but also about the wonderful Harmony Yard, in which they are working really hard to reconnect their individual community of Squamish Very first Country and with their conventional ecological awareness and food items procedures. 

Tammara Soma is in a Gurdwara's food hall where she's eating food with another woman.
Tammara Soma visited a Gurdwara wherever she took part in Langar, a community food. (CBC Gem / Totally Canadian)

Exactly where did this all start out for you, in terms of your partnership with food as you had been growing up?

Rising up I was bullied a ton. In particular when it arrived to foodstuff, it was not a supply of healing at that minute. Foodstuff was essentially a resource of concern. I experienced an consuming condition when I was youthful. 

In doing this operate, turning into a food stuff units professor and connecting to food from a spiritual side, I in fact healed my individual problem with foods. And so I also want to demonstrate by means of this documentary it is probable to recover. It is achievable to mend our broken relationship with meals.

A great deal of folks right now are battling just to place standard grocery objects on the desk. So in which do you feel the information of your movie suits within that context?

I consider this movie is well timed, because one particular issue this documentary displays is food is not just a commodity. Foodstuff is a lot more than that. 

It’s spirituality, it is identification, but it really is also a supply of bringing folks jointly. And I consider that our authorities, our leaders, should know that we want to spend in food items.

We have to have to commit in persons, especially these superb local community companies that are addressing issues like starvation and poverty and community constructing. So we need to have extra support.