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Estados UnidosBelfast, Reino Unido
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Stress, grief, & trauma rob the body of nutrients & vitality. PeaceMeals gathers individuals in the kitchen & around the table for authentic support & nutritional healing. It empowers individuals through creative, cathartic cooking lessons, community building & nutritionally tailored meals.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Trauma comes in many forms: loss, conflict, natural disasters, and even ongoing stress of the "daily grind." Over time it depletes the brain and body of nutrients and vitality, creating a nutrient gap between the foods consumed and their benefits to the body. Across cultures, individuals who have experienced diverse types of trauma often live in survival mode, simply going through the motions each day. Vital healing acts like cooking, eating, and communing with others lose meaning and utility. Only when survivors regain optimum nutrient levels can they restore mental and physical well being. This is a social problem to be addressed on both an individual and community basis beyond conventional healthcare. We need an innovative approach to holistic, survivor-driven methods of healing.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

PeaceMeals is a new paradigm for healing. It works through creative and cathartic cuisine and community that nourish both bodies and minds. PeaceMeals gathers groups of individuals who have been through similar situations for cooking and dining with a twist. Each meal is nutritionally tailored to address negative symptoms like anxiety and fatigue, and emphasizes locally-sourced and organic ingredients in order to maximize nutrient intake and reduce the impact on the ecosystem. Groups lead conversation according to their needs and grow authentic support networks around the table. These diverse groups can then carry on discussion and rely on each other beyond the Meal. PeaceMeals provides organization, curriculum, set-up, recipes, discussion facilitation, and follow-up. Curriculum is packaged in an easy-to-read format so that participants can take healing into their own hands, and nourish not only themselves but also their own communities, making the impact exponential.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Fatim’s mother died about one year ago. Living in a traditional Arab society, she learned to put on a brave face and became the mother in her family at age 22. At first Fatim was wary that the PeaceMeal would be another group therapy session where everyone was expected to explain their whole life story to strangers. To Fatim’s surprise, the focus was not on her trauma but on learning to cook healthy recipes using locally-sourced ingredients. Gathered in a home, the group of women learned which nutrients are useful when feeling tired, anxious, or sad. Slowly the conversation shifted to coping strategies when missing those who no longer share the table. Each person who had formerly been a stranger became Fatim’s counselor, co-chef, and friend. They now stay in touch via the PM website and email, and have begun planning their own meals as a group, and for others.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Holistic well-being is inherently difficult to quantify, and radical life change takes time. However, to date, 100 people have participated in at least one of 13 PeaceMeals groups. 69.9% of participants report reusing the curriculum afterwards. Participants form a community which understands them on a deeper level than those they would meet at an average dinner party. On a scale of 1 (Did not create/deepen any relationships) to 5 (Created many new/deep relationships) the average rating is a 4. PM is locally-owned; scaling & sustaining through a web model, and the curriculum is adaptable to incorporate local produce. PM projects to have 8 more groups throughout the world within the next year. PM was recognized by the Andi Foundation’s 2012 prize for 'Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things.' Ultimately, PM is successful when individuals experience meaningful and sustained physical, mental, and social health.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Currently admin & website fees are funded by personal savings & a small grant. Meals & curricula are primarily covered by participants paying on a sliding scale depending on menu & ability to pay. Some groups sponsor a meal for others who could not otherwise afford it. PM seeks further collaboration with survivors' support groups & with local food producers in order to cut costs, source sustainable ingredients, & engage diverse groups.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Group therapies, nutritional supplements, diets, cooking classes, dinner parties, and conventional healthcare: rarely do these elements meet to address nutrient deficiencies in targeted populations. There is a particularly deep divide between conventional and "alternative" therapies in our healthcare systems. PM pulls these into functional synergy to complement – not compete with – individuals’ existing care plans. PM's program is a survivor-led alternative based on principles of nutritional healing. Building connections with counselors and other practitioners can supplement their own work and ensure broad support for participants. PM also fills in the nutrient gap in a creative and affordable way by partnering with local food producers and community gardens when possible.

Founding Story

Growing up through coup d'etats in the Philippines, I learned how trauma could live inside the body. Later, working with survivors of conflict & torture, I saw the need for a holistic approach to healing. In America, I met others working through personal traumas without authentic support networks. Traumatized individuals often live in “crisis mode” without the ability to savor. My life is testimony to the healing power of food, for both physical and mental health. I love the creative process of cooking and feeding others like family. On one long bus ride, I wrote down all the reasons why I didn’t think PeaceMeals would work, then wrote what I would need to address each reason. I was able to see how PeaceMeals wasn't just a dream if I sought expert advice and continued steadily and persistently. I have since held PMs in North America and Northern Ireland with diverse groups of all ages including survivors of conflict, grief, and trauma.
About You
About You
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About Your Organization
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Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact

, Belfast

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

The success and impact of PeaceMeals was formally recognized by the Andi Foundation when PeaceMeals Founder and Director Cath Skroch was awarded the 2012 prize for “Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things.” Cath had been nominated by Sarah Holewinski, the Executive Director for the Center for Civilians in Conflict in Washington DC. Cath was honored alongside four other extraordinary women from around the globe for her contribution to the field of peace building and rehabilitation through PeaceMeals.

Nutrients For All
Where do you ensure the availability of nutrients?

Full nourishment foods, Human wellness and vitality.

If you had greater capacity, which additional sectors would you like your solution to target - either through expansion, partnership, or thought exchange?

Healthy environments, Full nourishment foods, Human wellness and vitality.

How specifically would this added capacity help you improve the quality, efficiency, or sustainability of your existing product or service?

PeaceMeals facilitates human wellness & vitality through nourishing foods and creative, cathartic dinner parties. The curriculum combines the science of nutritional healing & the philosophy of group therapy. With greater capacity, the program could also incorporate healthy environments. We could set up PM spaces– gardens, kitchens, and eventually homes– where participants could find solace & healing with others who have been through similar traumas. This would increase PM's quality & sustainability, as these environments could be training spaces for participants to facilitate their own PMs.