Nutrition knowledge is only possible because of our ancestors; not necessarily our direct relatives, but our metaphorical forefathers (and foremothers and fore-nonbinary parents). Many who came before us modeled how nutrition can establish a baseline of health, and how certain nutritional elements help us break through the lowest standard to achieve our optimum lives.
We lean heavily on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), India’s Ayurveda, Native American healing traditions and African medicinal plants as we seek botanical solutions to modern-day ailments of too much screen time, not enough self-care and declining health. Our concept of a “vitamin” came from Polish researcher Casimir Funk in the 1920s, and during the Great Depression and World War II, America saw its first nutrition guidelines based on Western research that showed how nutrients prevent diseases.
All cultures lend their knowledge to nutrition science because we all eat, but the Western culture that dominates the U.S. has not traditionally placed a high priority on justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI); nor has it given resources and platforms to women, people of color, people who are LGBTQ or those who lack economic means. Greater society is starting to discuss JEDI principals, and it is long overdue in our industry.
It’s a difficult truth that many smart people haven’t—and still don’t—feel welcome by the natural products industry. As “insiders,” we have the power to create a place where all feel supported, valued and inspired. Listening and amplifying those who have been ignored in the past can expedite us in our collective goals of creating healthy products that serve people and the planet. More voices lead to more innovation, more solutions and more results.
Informa Markets has what many need: a platform to reach the greater health and nutrition industry. I understand the importance of this responsibility. The work we’ve done to earn trust in the health and nutrition market, and our position as B2B media and conference brands means people listen when we present information. We are dedicated to using that platform to give space to and uphold those who are often overlooked.
Allowing for greater inclusion of voices means changing thinking patterns we’ve experienced our whole lives. It means more than just writing blogs and having workshops on JEDI at our conferences, or highlighting the companies in this space that are achieving JEDI goals—although we will be doing that, too. It means rethinking who we interview for all stories, it means asking ourselves, “Who have we traditionally left out of the conversation?” It means finding new people and perspectives. It means considering costs of finished products so that lower economic consumers aren’t priced out of health and nutrition offerings. It means rethinking our reliance on scientific backing that’s only available from expensive randomly controlled trials (RCTs). It means giving a stage to less-known speakers who may not have the commensurate level of visibility as other options.
It means taking chances, and sometimes, making mistakes. It means asking our readers and conference visitors to question us and hold us accountable in the same way we must do among our internal staff.
The industry on the other side of addressing this challenge will reach more people, have a greater affect, and increase the health of countless consumers. Improving health will reduce further barriers experienced by the underprivileged, which will lead to more JEDI. How exciting that this industry gets to be a critical part of the improvement of our greater society.
This is our JEDI why.