SELINA'S

A vegan food company founded by the food entrepreneur Selina Hami, aiming 

to create sustainable food brands that inspire people to eat more plant based foods. 

BRANDS
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Matmagasinet VEGO, nr. 3, 2017

HELLO
SELINA HAMI

Born in Stockholm, but with parents from Syria, Lebanon and Hungary (you do the math), I travelled a lot in my childhood years. I walked with my Grandmother in the busy markets of Damascus, picked peaches with my Grandmother in Hungary and I picked cherries with my Dad in the mountains of Lebanon. I had it pretty awesome if I may say so myself.


I learned to appreciate diversity and respect people's differences. When I was little, many asked me "But where do you feel like you're from?" and my answer was always simple. "Earth". I couldn't understand how they did not see it: behind the mere shells of borders, religions, food culture and clothes was the very essence of what a child pays the most attention to: a kind heart. Wherever I traveled, children loved to play and parents were caring and hardworking. We cooked, laughed, argued, read stories and created together.

Photo: Christian Gustavsson, Shortcut.se

Having travelled a lot and being fluent in Swedish, English, Hungarian, Arabic & Spanish, I decided to study International Relations at the University of Stockholm to pursue a future working with international aid projects. During this time, cooking also started to gain my attention as a part of growing up and feeling more independent, while still having the memories of my grandmothers garden and the food markets in Syria in mind.

When studying, I was struck by how much more injust our world is than I previously had thought. I understood that greed was a fundamental driving force and that changing it had to start with changing myself. I realized that much of the suffering worldwide was caused by our daily choices of consumption. Thinking about what we consume and why, I came to the following conclusion:

PHILOSOPHY

Throughout history, we have only owned what we do not consider to be like us. Animals, plants and land are examples of those that we commonly do not relate to in terms of physical appearance or consciousness. When owning humans, it has been justified by their differences from the owner: skin color, language and culture.

 

But what happens when we acknowledge that all humans essentially strive for the same things in life? That animals are physically and emotionally similar to us, with the ability to feel physical and emotional pain? Or when we acknowledge that dissimilarity does not equal anyone being less deserving of respect?

"Food has always been a way to gather and connect, so I wanted to use food as a way of connecting people around the world, with the hope to inspire you to look beyond the plate."

 

With this realization, I started feeling an immense respect towards all living. I wondered about the people who had made my clothes, grown my food. I thought about the animals sacrificing their lives, their happiness for being on my plate. What did these lives all look like, and why had I been taking them for granted?

 

Respect is in the heart of its carrier. At some occasions we give respect, at others we retain it. When and how this is done has changed through history and geography while the matter itself has not changed at all.

A cow still has motherly emotions towards her calf, pigs still feel physical pain, and trees are still aiming to grow. It is our own consciousness and perception of the world that changes with time. In our present time, respect is not a given and it is often related to the distance between the giver and receiver.

 

I understood that it was the physical and emotional distance from these people and animals that had kept me from wondering about them and questioning my consumption. Distance from the victims has always been an effective way to commit actions against one’s values, whether the distance is physical or emotional. People sewing your clothes, harvesting your food. Mothers being robbed of their children to give you her milk. All of the lives that are giving you their time, sweat and heart are either too far away to see or too dehumanized for us to care.

 

Respect in today’s food culture is indeed lacking, but it does not make what we do not respect less valuable. It only shows that our perception and awareness of it has yet to reach its full potential.

Food has always been a way to gather and connect, so I wanted to use food as a way of connecting people around the world, with the hope to inspire you to look beyond the plate.

 

Slowly, incorporating all the things I love to do by combining my love for cooking and sustainable food consumption, I started building up my business to a place where I can cook, design, travel, illustrate and tell stories to inspire to compassionate food consumption and show you guys that vegan can be funky!