“Small scale farming is not anti-progress, poor or underdeveloped. It is a sustainable agricultural model that uses natural and human resources respectfully, and therefore guarantees social and food security. This is why this year is the International Year of Family Farming, and this is why we are in Berlin today!"
Speaking to a crowd of around 30,000 people, Carlo Petrini, the founder of Slow Food, was met with huge applause as he took to a stage that had been constructed in front of the capital's government buildings.
His audience had gathered in the city for a demonstration against agribusiness, known as Wir Haben Es Satt (We Are Fed Up). Accompanied by several tractors, the protesters marched through the city center, bringing it to a complete standstill. They were united by a set of common demands including the global right to food and nourishment; healthy and affordable food for all; the promotion of farming that protects the environment and bees; and an end to monocultures, GMOs, food scandals and land grabbing.
"Our message today is clear,” Petrini said, “If Europe loses its small farmers and its family farms, then it loses its history, it loses its culture, it loses its identity; it would not exist anymore..."
Later he addressed the Slow Food Youth Network and other young farmer groups taking part in a series of workshops. Explaining that 10 years ago such a demonstration would not have been possible, he added: “In Rome, in Madrid, in Paris, I hope similar events take place in other cities around the world.”