It was a long, very interesting talk with Pavlos.
We started with the reason why our meeting was delayed - and that was the first narrative of care I found in this hour-long discussion.
The reason was food, or to be more precise - Maiolica, a new restaurant in Sifnos. Georgiadis has been involved with his company “We Deliver Taste” (http://wedelivertaste.com) in consulting the place, crafting the menu, making it local, affordable, Mediterranean. Their consultancy for food businesses connects small producers from all over Greece, trying to change the hospitality landscape in the country. Part of the idea is to tell people about the ingredients, the element of storytelling, which changes customers’ relations to the product, and the gastro-landscape of the country.
Pavlos is an ethnobotanist and for 12 years he devoted his career to science, researching for his Ph.D. in Thailand and China. He left this path four years ago to invest time and energy in agrifood and environment - the brainchild of this transition is We Deliver Taste, a company that investigates the food system, from seed to stomach, in which he was joined by two Italians and a Czech. They are not only interested in the processes that bring the food to our tables, but also in the cultures surrounding it, especially the Mediterranean dining customs and love for good food. In one of the side projects, funded by Horizon 2020, they’re also concentrating on reforming the digital aspect of the food business by preparing pilot, open data systems, tools and applications that will make the path from the farmer to the customer/industry (hospitals, hotels) more clear, while at the same time keeping people informed and educated about the content of their plate.
By this multilayered, multifaceted enterprise Pavlos wants to change the paradigm. He believes that if the way we think about the time and space of food, meaning the time spent on preparation, growth, the human experience of food, it will have an impact on climate resilience, climate justice, biodiversity, water and soil conservation and will boost regenerative economies in rural areas.
Pavlos targets people in their 50-ties and 60-ties, those who have access to power and money, and believes that educating and informing them is crucial to driving the change. He consciously chose to become part of the market, be open for collaboration with government, and get involved with huge public procurement systems because he thinks demonizing the market is wrong. And because there is a dire need for change there. After years of scaling and working for their position, We Deliver Taste are now in serious talks with important actors.
On a smaller scale, there is an idea of creating an edible dish which could be used in the refugee camps. It’s not that the idea is brand new, there are some Indian startups that have crowdfunded and done it already - but it’s that importing such a product would be counterproductive. Instead, Pavlos wants to recreate the whole system necessary for producing such a dish - an industrial designer who’d made the moulds, a baker, ideally struggling to survive in the market, a flour producer, etc.
He also dreams of a website that would accompany this project. One could see there how much profit it created for the parties involved, work saved on waste management and how many refugees it catered. Besides, he wants to create a crowdfunding campaign to donate money to biodegradable plastic producers in Italy, who’d, later on, provide their product to the refugee camps in Greece. The stake is huge - 60.000 refugees, 2 meals a day, which makes a 100.000 dishes a day, and it will happen for years as maybe even a half of them will stay in Greece for longer. That would fix the existing problem of waste and even produce compost in large communal digestors to feed the organic agriculture and parks.
“We have to enter this market fast and with confidence right now. There is not much time for discussions - it’s somehow already too late”.
The second part of the discussion coming briefly.