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Share Your Plate

“Share Your Plate” is the name of Mark Tafoya’s Game in the World, created in Landmark Education’s Team Management and Leadership Program. Chef Mark, as he also calls himself, is a man who loves to cook and feed people. The possibility of his game is nourishing the body and the soul.

A professional chef by trade, for Mark, food is not just something to eat, but an avenue to bring people together. The intention of this game is love, grace and harmony. “People are too often starving unnecessarily and there is enough food to feed everyone,” Mark says.

Mark’s mission is to create understanding between cultures through food. His goal is to create an on-line community “where people of all backgrounds share their culture and their cuisine” the website for this is at www.ShareYourPlate.org. This goal will be achieved by hosting potlucks locally and donating the proceeds to food banks who help feed the needy in as many locations throughout the world as possible. He plans to raise $20,000 from these events.

His idea is to bring people together to share each other’s food and talk about how their dishes evolved, with the intention that people see what they all have in common. Equally important to Mark, however, is that the stories of the people themselves behind the food are also shared. Mark feels that “the more people know about each other and the dishes they eat, the easier it will be to create understanding between diverse people throughout the world.”

The success of Mark’s Game is dependent upon Team. A large team will be required to carry out his plans. He currently has a team of twenty people from different backgrounds. One member of his team has donated free web hosting for the site. Others have various accountabilities. For example, Jennifer Iamolo, who is also his partner in the Culinary Network is accountable for getting the website created. Like Mark, she has a passion for food and is creating a separate website for people working with food problems. Over time, Mark’s plan is to create “Field Marshals” around the world who will mobilize other people to create potluck parties and report back using the website, which will be the operational hub for this project. Eventually, stories, pictures and videos of events will be posted on the web site so people can see as each event proceeds and can share in his work.

Mark also seeks to promote healthy eating. He believes that unhealthy eating is a sad fact in North America and Europe. “Food has replaced love”, according to Mark, in part because “there may be too much of it around in richer counties, and we in the west generally eat for the wrong reasons, while, ironically, others do not have enough and often starve.”

In five years, Mark plans to create a non-profit organization out of his Game, benefiting local food charities with funds to support people who struggle to eat well throughout the world. This will be the legacy of “Share Your Plate.”

written by Heath Thomas, edited by Judi Romaine

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