Nafas is a platform where food and flavor intersect with our understanding of our relationship to each other and our planet.. Nafas invites different people to come together and actively collaborate toward creating a more socially and ecologically resilient world.
Nafas is an agroculinary school that reimagines the kitchen, the cook and the diner as components of larger ecological cycles. Cooking is not just about chopping up ingredients and mixing them together in different ways: At Nafas, students learn to take ownership of their own health and nutrition, understanding that the choices they make – from the type of seed their food comes from, to the way their meals are prepared, to how the waste that comes out of their kitchen and dining tables is disposed of – all have an effect on their bodies and the planet. Nafas places social relationships at the center of all our activities, bringing people and families together to share the learning and the food coming out of our kitchen.
Humans have almost always organized themselves socially and spatially around food and its production. Towns and cities, roads and infrastructure, as well as traditions and festivals, have emerged and been shaped by our most fundamental need to eat. Over the last two hundred years, facilitated by developments in transport, urban dwellers have become more and more distanced from food. To reach us from where it’s grown, food travels longer distances, consuming a lot of non-renewable energy in fuel for transportation or refrigeration. In order to make it across such distances, different processes have been introduced to food to preserve it, inevitably stripping it from the very essential nutrients that we need to sustain our bodies.
How we produce food from seed has been the topic of many recent controversies on how these production processes may not only be damaging to our bodies, but also to the very continuity of the planet we live in. Monocultures and high input agriculture deplete the soil from its ability to continue to produce, resulting in needing more inputs or loss of yields. And it’s a downward spiral from there: Monocultures and GMOs are one of the leading causes of loss of genetic diversity, meaning that our plants are becoming more and more similar genetically, leaving our crops less resilient to disaster, drought and pests on a global scale.
The divide between those involved in production of food and those who consume it has never been bigger – we rarely know where the food we eat came from, who produced it, or what the labor conditions of the people who produced it were. Are we eating things that cannot be accessed by those who grew them? Where is this divide and how can we bridge it?
But it’s not just the planet that we desperately need for our continued survival, but also our bodies. When we eat things that are not recognizable to our bodies as nutrition, we are more susceptible to both malnourishment and obesity.
The manifestations of this separation are expressed in the ways we eat our food. Many of us are plagued with an pervasive sense of loneliness – our food often takes less than ten minutes to prepare and many people rely on junk food and highly processed meals to fit their busy lifestyles. For most people, food is a quick and solitary experience; very little time is made for eating or convening around a table to nourish our bodies and spirits.
Nafas uses food as the vehicle through which to learn about ecological, nutritional and social issues surrounding food. With our phenomenological inquiry-based collaborative learning approach, Nafas encourages its visitors not just to cook or garden, but to intentionally cook for social and ecological resilience and change, rebuilding connections to our bodies, each other and the planet. Every meal prepared at Nafas is an application of these values, and a journey of inquiry on how we can sustain our lives through connection, knowledge and understanding.
+2-0102 208 8378
4 Road 211, Maadi
Su-Th 10 a–7 p