Thursday, December 10, 2015

What is Foodie4Access?

Hello, folks!

If you are not familiar with the F4A concept, let me tell you the story. Several years ago, I created the Foodie4Access idea, name and blog in order to talk about food and accessibility. Strange combination, right?

Well, the story goes like this.

Three years ago, I attended a self-advocacy training with my oldest son. He really didn't want to go, but I wanted to learn as much as I could on how to successfully advocate for him and his brother. As a parental attendant, I sat in the back, behind everyone, though I got copies of all the content of the training. I watched them go through the breakout sessions, the workshop team match-ups and the seminar lectures. but, where I saw them connect the most was over meals. Suddenly,the polite walls came down, everyone oohed and aahhed over hot, steaming dishes and sandwich combinations. There was laughter, sharing of family history and tales from other dining tables. I noticed something, but wasn't sure exactly what I was seeing.

Later on in the six week training, I began to notice that while we pulled through the trainngs, we glided through meals; lingering over desserts and each other. Finally, I understood. It was connection....through food. And, just like that, an idea was formed.

I could talk about accessibility in a seminar or a Powerpoint-driven presentation, or I could sit down at a meal and ask questions, hear histories and testimonies, and learn about others through the sharing of a meal.

In those training meal times, I could see how if one needed an alternate menu or another one needed their food cut and arranged, or yet another one had allergies, no assumptions were made. I saw how everyone just made sure those needs were met. Because in the end, we all wanted to share the same feeling; enjoyment of a well prepared meal, regardless of what accommodations were needed to get there.

I thought...what would happen if we could talk about our needs over a shared meal? If we could care for each other in that setting? Perhaps that feeling would carry over to the workplace, the marketplace, the community center, the movie theater, anywhere and everywhere people went; all people, disabled or not?

What if we understood that if we could share a meal and make it accessible for all, we could do the same for the rest of the community?

And, that is how Foodie4Access was born. Yes, we may talk about the accessibility of a restaurant, but first we want to find out how accessible is your mind? Your thought patterns? Your attitudes? Come, sit around the table and let's talk.


Do you feel sharing food is a way to foster inclusion and a sense of community? What other ways can help foster discussions of accessibility?


1 comment:

  1. This is a great introduction to your blog, and yes, people love to connect over food! :)