By: Matleena Autio
I had the opportunity to participate in a conversation festival called Well Said! in Hämeenlinna, Finland during the first weekend of October. I was involved in a confidential discussion about everyday food choices, which was organized as a part of the festival by the Timeout Foundation.
Conversation Requires Listening
I love good conversations. Especially when the topic is somewhat controversial and complex. Conversation is a great way to expand the bubble you live in. You don´t have to agree with everything but you must be prepared to listen to one another. Only by listening you can get into each other’s experiences and maybe understand better why they think and act the way they do.
Knowledge-based action is self-evident in the business world, and I wish that we would actively seek knowledge to support our assumptions in our everyday life, too, by freely asking each other: How are you? How was your day? What do you think about this?
That is exactly the way we want to work at JAMIX. By listening to each other and our customers. By seeking solutions together for the things that don´t yet work as well as we would like them to. We all have our own point of view, and it helps us to see the sides that would have been left unseen by other people. When creating a full image, we all are important. Everyone’s vision is needed.
“What Would We Eat?”
I felt a bit nervous participating in a conversation festival, as I didn´t know what to expect. I have visited food festivals to savour new flavours and music festivals to listen to great music. However, conversation is something different as it requires interaction – you must open yourself up and not just view or listen to someone else´s speech or actions. At the end the guided conversation gave me a warm and trusting feeling. I truly believe that by talking and listening we increased our common understanding about the subject at hand.
We were surprised how emotional topic food is. Thinking back on flavors from our childhood created good memories and led us into thinking how the world has changed since those days. I also noticed that food is actually an important tool for me to express care towards other people. “Have you eaten already? Are you hungry?” I think at least all parents can identify with these questions.
Food Is Precious
Unfortunately, I also noticed I kept saying that the lack of time prevents me from keeping the decisions I´ve already made concerning food choices. As a matter of fact, it´s truly not about the time those choices would require to make but instead it’s about my habits and scheduling, just like my fellow conversationalist friendly remarked.
Has food become too easy for us, so that we can´t take the time for preparing and eating food peacefully anymore? Do we assume that this vital function “just happens” spontaneously in our everyday lives? If we would just stop and think about the meaning of food in our lives for a while, would it lead us into appreciating food more and in conclusion to take more time for food and eating? I’m willing to admit that there are times when I should do some exercises with this subject.
Especially one question which my fellow conversationalist expressed has been going through my mind since the festival: “To you, what is the food that states: I love you?” The answer I get is different every day.