Thank you very much for your support this year. It has been an eventful year for Food for Life Global and myself as director.
Late last year, I decided that 2013 would be a year of travel to help inspire and guide the volunteers, as well as promote my new book, FOOD YOGA – Nourishing Mind, Body & Soul, which captures the very essence of what Food for Life is all about. In just 8 months, I visited 28 countries!
PAWS – new affiliate
So on March 8, I headed West from Sydney, Australia with my first stop being Perth. In Perth, I got to see first-hand one of the most innovative Food for Life projects we have, PAWS headed by long time FFL volunteer, David Reynolds. PAWS (People & Animal Welfare Society Inc) is a non-profit organization promoting community welfare through Ahimsa (non-violence) and is largely staffed by volunteers. I highly recommend you check them out. See: http://www.paws.org.au
Next stop was India where I got to see firsthand a couple of our best Food for Life kitchens, run by the FFL Annamrita project headquartered in Mumbai, India. The non-profit partner is responsible for many first-class kitchens that serve over 1.3 million meals daily! You can read about my visit at https://ffl.org/en/2013/03/ as well as a nice report on one of their kitchens at https://ffl.org/2013/one-year-anniversary-of-new-state-of-the-art-food-relief-kitchen/
Annamrita’s program is based on our belief that one meal a day brings thousands of children to school. You can help every child In this country get an education if you donate that one meal. As of now, we cater to approximately 1,250,000 children every day from our centers in Nigdi, Mira Bhayander, Paighar, Tardeo, Wada, Aurangabad, Delhi, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Kurukshetra, Palwal, Tirupati, Nellore, Rajahmundry, Kadapa, Ranga Nara Gadda, Jaipur, Ujjain, Jamshedpur, and Kolkata, and in Maharashtra alone we cater around 2,80,000 meals every day. Most of these children come from slums and tribal areas. To learn more about that project, visit: www.annamrita.org or see a short video on Youtube.
South East Asia
Next stop was a 2 month tour through South East Asia where I got to lecture and train volunteers, as well as do workshops on Food Yoga in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Fiji, Bali, before heading home to Sydney where I was one of the guest chefs at the famous Mind, Body, Spirit festival on their Soul Kitchen stage.
During my tour through Fiji, I got to talk to volunteers who were involved in the flood relief earlier in the year. You can read about that at https://ffl.org/1739/fiji-children-getting-lunch-from-ffl/
After a one month stop in Australia, I headed over to New Zealand to witness the wonderful Food for Life project run by Buddhi Wilcox where he feeds children at schools and needy adults at his drop-in center in the heart of Whangarei on the North Island. You can read about that visit at https://ffl.org/2013/food-for-life-in-new-zealand-brings-unity-to-the-community/ I particularly liked the comments of one of the teachers: “There is a real sense of unity here. Even the parents get involved with cleaning, and all us teachers also sit down to eat with the kids.”
In June, I headed back to Mumbai to give a presentation at the famous Cricket Club of India on Food Yoga. They told me it was the biggest attendance the club has ever had. During this visit, I got to see more of the amazing FFL Annamrita project, including a subsidiary project called Govardhana Eco Village, about 2 hours out of Mumbai.
Next stop was Hong Kong where I did a Food Yoga workshop, lectured to FFL volunteers and was a guest speaker at a volunteer appreciation dinner at the Ernst & Young offices in downtown Hong Kong, organized by FFL Hong Kong public relations coordinator, Prashant Joshi. Supporters included staff from Deutsche Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Ernst & Young. Mr. Dixit Joshi and Sukrit Khatri, Deutsche Bank also awarded FFLHK the House of Lords Award – service for humanity and the SEWA Pioneering Award. To learn more about Food for Life Hong Kong, visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/613391298689884/
In July and August, I visited projects in Slovenia, England, Belgium, France, Germany, Bosnia, Croatia, Spain, Latvia, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Italy, as well as investigate new opportunities in Greece.
I did numerous workshops and talks on Food Yoga and the activities of Food for Life. In Slovenia, I talked with the president about Food Yoga and Food for Life and met many ambassadors at a social service project organized by the president’s staff.
One of the most amazing experiences of my Europe tour was to see the massive free food distribution of Food for Life volunteers at the famous Polish Woodstock festival. More than 150,000 meals were served over 4 days. The large pot they use to accomplish this feat is incredible (See below). Some more pictures of the event can be seen on the Food Yoga Facebook Album page
All of September I traveled through South America and got to witness Food for Life in Ecuador, run by very sincere and hard working volunteers who have very little funding, but somehow manage to continue providing the most delicious vegan meals week after week.
I was also one of the main speakers at the Brazilian Vegfest and got to demonstrate some healthy food yoga recipes. Vegan Super model Ellen Jabour got a copy of my book, Food Yoga and learned about Food for Life’s work. I also visited two amazing eco projects affiliated with Food for Life Global, Pandavas Paradise, and Goura Vrindavan. I highly recommend a visit if you are in Brazil. Both projects are spectacular!
FOOD YOGI Story
In October, Australia Yoga Life magazine did a 4-page article on life and food yoga journey. You can read about that and download the complete article at https://ffl.org/2013/food-for-life-director-featured-in-australian-yoga-life/
In November, I completed my South American tour in Colombia where I did one final Food Yoga workshop and worked with the local volunteers to help them improve on their projects. Some highlights of the Food Yoga workshop can be seen on the Facebook album.
In the same month, wrote a thought-provoking article on the relationship of declining grain production, vegan diet and hunger at https://ffl.org/2013/food-security-world-grain-production-plateauing-time-to-go-veg/
Returning to Haiti
In 2010 Food for Life was a major help in providing vegan meals after the devastating earthquake tore the country apart. In September Food for Life Global in cooperation with IDA and the Slovenian Foreign Ministry set up a new kitchen in a school in Port a Prince to provide vegan lunches.
Volunteer Vishnudatta and Laxminath set up the new project which has been a big hit with the parents and children. I had never been to Haiti, but I can honestly tell you, it is one of the most impoverished places I have ever visited. I was shocked every day to see the poverty there.
ISKCON Food Relief Foundation responded to the mighty Cyclone Phailan with over 30,000 hot vegan meals. The full story is at https://ffl.org/2013/iskcon-food-relief-foundation-feeds-nearly-30000-victims-of-cyclone-phailin/
You are all very aware of the devastation that took place in the Philippines from the wrath of Typhoon Haiyan in November. Food for Life volunteers from Manila and other cities were one of the first responders and within less than a week were providing hot vegan meals to thousands of very needy people. Your generous donations enabled Food for Life Global to support their efforts and as of this writing, volunteers continue to feed thousands. You can read all about that amazing work and view more pictures at:
In December, the world witnessed the passing of one the greatest human beings in modern history, Nelson Mandela. Many of you may not be aware, however, that Mr. Mandela was a great supporter of Food for Life and what it stood for.
He made the above statement at a gathering of 50,000 school children in 1997 who were invited by Food for Life to a public picnic in Durban called the “Festival for the Children of the Rainbow Nation” with President Mandela as its Guest of Honour. School children and their teachers gathered at Kings Park Soccer stadium. After delivering the keynote address, President Mandela extended his stay at the event and spent more than five hours watching the various children’s performances. He encouraged the children to excel in school, take advantage of the rights afforded to them, and instructed them to appreciate that the generations before them had fought for their freedom. The Mercury Newspaper reported that he stated this was “the happiest day” of his life.
You can read the story at https://ffl.org/2013/nelson-mandela-the-passing-of-a-great-friend-and-hero-to-the-world/
Finally, to cap of a lovely and most successful year for Food for Life, one volunteer in Colombia, Juliana Castaneda embodied the true spirit of Christmas and the Food for Life project when she spent all her savings to feed the poor and elderly on Christmas day a home cooked vegan feast at the geriatric centre, Faith and Hope in Bogota, Colombia. Juliana told me she does this every year. What is more amazing is that this young lady spends every other penny she earns throughout the year to feed 32 animals that are sheltered on her farm. Her project is called Paramatma, which translates as “God in the heart of all beings.”
Juliana was assisted by another volunteer, Hema Kanti and with the help of a small grant from Food for Life Global, they were able to serve the free lunch.
During the serving, one blind lady pulled at Juliana’s hand and asked her to come closer. Juliana leaned in and the lady began to touch her face and then said, “Oh, you are very beautiful and I can see that you are shining.” Juliana replied, “What is shining?” The blind lady continued, “I can see your wings! I’m blind, but I can see your wings are shining, just like an angel.” Juliana quietly wept. Full story at https://www.ffl.org/2013/are-you-an-angel-food-for-life-volunteers-bring-a-christmas-smile-in-colombia/
Thank you from the bottom my heart for your kind support all these years. We trust that next year will bring peace, prosperity and happiness to you and your family.
On behalf of all the volunteers,
Paul Rodney Turner
Food for Life Global