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The Eat Cafe

Posted 4 years, 6 months ago in SFYN Blog Terra Madre 2014

Discussing food is discussing politics. Therefore a panel of experts discussed how grassroots activists, members of the European Parliament and policy advisors can build a new framework for a sustainable agricultural future. But it wouldn't be an Eat Café if the whole audience was participating by discussing different statement in small groups.

In Holland, the Dutch SFYN (Youth Food Movement) started some time ago with Het Eetcafé -literally translated as The Eat Café-, a way way to bring farmers, consumers and politicians together. At Terra Madre, a similar event took place, on an international level.

'Young farmers must be permitted and encouraged to challange the growing demand for food in ever more innovative way.'

With this statement Joris Lohman, chairman of the Slow Food Youth Network, made a statement to focus more on young farmers. 'Our food future is in their hands. It is how they produce and what they produce that forms the future of agriculture and biodiversity. To develop a sustainable food system in Europe, it is vital that small scale and sustainable producing farmers are supported with public funding.'

Food is politics and it's looking bad. Hans van Scharen, assistent of Member of Parliament Bart Staes (the Green party), was more sceptic about the way the European Common Agricultural Policy is going. 18 procent of the farmers get 80 procent of the European funding and it is in their interest to produce more and more intensive. Even though the European Commission sometimes comes up with promosing policies, the member states think differently and their voices count in the end. But on the other hand is Hans positive about grassroots activism combined with polical lobby from NGO's. Only if we raise our voices and combine out strengh we can make a difference. Hans: 'Retailers should play a more active role in choice editing and giving information on sustainable food.' 

According to Michele Galatole, working for the European Commission DG environmentLand, water and biodiversity are the biggest challenges. Michele thinks that retailers can play a vital role in preventing food waste by changing the way that products are presented to consumers.

After the talks discussions took place in group setting. The statements were evaluated and there was a consensus that we needed a lively and young community of people who interact with eachother on different levels. Young farmers, consumers and business men should shape the future together. And it's not going to be easy; there are many challenges to tackle. The cost of land property for instance, and the different needs from all stakeholders. -But we can't wait for a doomscenario. We need to act now and we need to act together.  

Micha Lubbers