The same saying goes in most languages: “A sound mind in a sound body.” And it is true in all cultures and at all times.
In the 50s, the culture of fast food was introduced and established in gastronomy. Fast became the new good; instead of focusing on producing good quality and healthy products, the food industry took a turn towards mass production which could serve more people in less time and by cheapest prices. This led to an overproduction in some parts of the world but at the same time did not combat the hunger problem. In Egypt that gap can be seen clearly when recognizing that 63% of the population is overweight, 36% even obese (according to the World Health Organisation one of the highest rates worldwide) while 30% of the people are living below the poverty line.
Today, the consumers start again to become more aware of the need of a healthier lifestyle. A balanced diet must include a good ratio of various nutrients – but what if the nutrients are no longer nutritious? GMO, chemical pesticides and fertilizers, polluted water and air are all factors that affect the quality of produce and reduce its benefits. So, one might be thinking to live a healthy lifestyle and diet, but in fact does not consume a lot of healthy nutrients; unless he seeks the way the product is made and where it’s grown.
It all starts with nutrition
SEKEM’s vision and mission revolve around the development of people as individuals and communities. Therefor, “a sound mind in a sound body” is crucial: development starts from the right nutrition to enable the development of body and mind.
SEKEM and its subsidiary companies offer natural and Organic products to its clients, but also wants to support a healthy nutrition of its employees and producers. In order to strengthen the awareness on the benefits of Organic nutrition and a healthier lifestyle, SEKEM initiated a project to provide its employees with fresh Organic fruits and vegetables at a subsidized net cost rate rate. The unsorted vegetables may not adhere to the consumer’s expectations in terms of appearance, but in fact carry all health and nutritious value. Besides, SEKEM offers all its co-workers as well as students of the SEKEM Schools a warm meal every day in 8 cafeterias located at the SEKEM Farm that contain as much Organic ingredients as possible. Meat, chicken or fish is only served once a week.
Supporting a new healthy culture
As on the SEKEM Farm, also at the campus of Heliopolis University located in the heart of crowded, polluted Cairo awareness on a healthy nutrition shall be raised. Although there is a café and several takeaway shops, they do not offer as much sugary drinks, chocolate or chips as usual in Egypt. Also here, a cafeteria serves fresh Organic meals to the staff and employees can place a weekly order of fresh Organic vegetables at a discounted price. SEKEM hopes to support thereby a healthy lifestyle and a new way of thinking on healthy food.
Not long ago, there was the concept of vegetables and greens being healthy, but sadly today, that is no longer true! Indeed, conventional farming methods made the food industry boom but at the expense of the quality and nutritious value. When the look of a product comes before it’s flavor and nutritional values, then we should definitely rethink our nutrition and food production systems. Besides offering good food to all community members, SEKEM works to create consciousness on that topic for people to maintain a sound body and mind.