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“GROWING UP CLOSE TO NATURE HAD A BIG IMPACT ON ME.”

JENS  HANNIBAL

I grew up in Denmark just north of Copenhagen. Growing up close to nature – the forest, the sea – had a big impact on me. I’ve felt a strong pull towards nature ever since. When I started to become aware of the environmental devastation that human activities are causing around the planet, and how serious the threat to our shared home is; there was no going back for me. I had to do something.

Having started to cook around the age of 12, it only seemed natural that food would be my vehicle for making change happen. As I continued to learn more about the impact our food has on the environment, my resolve strengthened. After finishing a degree in Entrepreneurship, I started a Scandinavian food bar aimed at promoting sustainable fishing by getting people to eat a broader variety of fish.

This eventually led to the idea of The Bear Kitchen, which is based on a simple philosophy: eat like a bear. Bears eat mostly seasonal, local plants and have never heard of factory farmed meat and hyper processed foods; a great analogy for a way that we as people can enjoy food, without compromising the joy of a good meal.

What does “dreaming locally” mean to you?

Dreaming locally to me means appreciating the power that each of us has to affect global circumstances by acting consciously in a local context.

How do you embody this in your life?

I would say primarily via food, which aside from the air we breath and water that we drink is the closest interaction we have with nature on a daily basis. I eat seasonal, in order to keep it local and avoid air freight. My primary protein sources are whole grains, pulses, seeds and nuts.   

“WHEN WE START TO LISTEN INWARD, WE START TO LISTEN TO NATURE.”

What kind of impact do you imagine local living has on society and the environment?

The impact of living locally is HUGE! Particularly when it comes to the food system, which there is no doubt in my mind MUST be de-centralised and, in fact, de-globalised to a very large extent. We need locally independent systems that can support each other, rather than everything breaking down because of interconnectivity across borders and food being traded as commodities on the global markets. We can start living as consciously active, engaged citizens (rather than passive consumers), making more effort to buy local instead of established chains run by Big Agro and Big Food. Then we start to take power back and create a much more resilient and fair food system that helps regenerate soil health and ensure food security.

“WE CAN START LIVING AS CONSCIOUSLY ACTIVE, ENGAGED CITIZENS .”

How do you think nature helps us connect with ourselves? With our communities?

We are one with nature. When we start to listen inward, we start to listen to nature. When we listen to nature, we start to hear our true selves. “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread. Places to play in and pray in. Where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul”.

How can others dream locally?  

Realise just how powerful you are. Wake up. Be a citizen. Not a consumer. Acquire knowledge. Act on that knowledge. Start now.