On World Food Day, which is marked every year on October 16, we celebrate the culinary traditions of countries around the world, while acknowledging that access to food can be difficult for many — though it is integral for all. This year, we’re marking World Food Day by looking at five of the meals you’ll be served by our Planeterra projects around the world — projects that help empower locals by bringing travel dollars directly to small, independent businesses and communities.
AidChild’s Equation Cafe & Gallery
The need: AidChild helps provide care to HIV-positive children, and training and education to the locals who care for them.
The meals: The cafe serves cold drinks, wraps, and snacks, and a variety of handicrafts and art objects are on sale as well.
Jia Community Restaurant
The need: In Liandaowan, China, women are left without sources of income when their husbands leave to seek employment in larger municipalities. The restaurant provides jobs, training, and a sense of community.
The meals: Fresh, delicious stir frys and other hot meals prepared by Tomato, the restaurant’s manager, whose vision of empowerment and economic vitality powers Jia.
The need: To combat discrimination against individuals living with physical and developmental disabilities, this small community provides employment opportunities, training, and connectivity to its residents, almost all of whom live with a disability.
The meals: The cafe is great, but here, it’s all about the green roofs and greenhouses, where local produce is grown year-round.
Tamarind Garden Farms
Where: Sri Lanka
The need: The main source of income in Digana, Sri Lanka, is dolomite mining, which is environmentally damaging and provides health risks to the community. Tamarind Garden Farms provides alternative sources of income, plus food that is grown year-round.
The meals: Delicious flatbreads, curries, and stews, many of which use ingredients from the nearby gardens.
Where: Costa Rica
The need: After an earthquake in 2009, the San Miguel de Sarapiqui community was economically threatened, due to its isolation. Mi Cafecito — and its connected restaurant and local tours — brings vital tourism dollars to the region.
The meals: Forget the food — the coffee at Mi Cafecito, harvested nearby and roasted locally, is some of the best you’ll ever have. (Don’t actually forget the food. It’s amazing, as well.)