Close your eyes and picture a farm.
In your mind you may see a landscape with rows of different veggies, various fruit trees, and maybe a few cows or goats nibbling at the grass.
Wrong. The reality today is very different.
Over the past hundred years, the variety of seeds planted has dwindled from hundreds to just a handful. Animal diversity is suffering a similar fate. Large commercial farms that focus on specific animals or plants to maximize yields and profits have caused the variety in our food supply to plummet.
Today the human race relies on just three cereals - rice, wheat and corn - to provide for 60% of our caloric needs. In less than 100 years, we have lost three quarters of vegetable, fruit and legume varieties and a thousand breeds. Along with these plants and animals, we have lost hundreds of breads, cheeses, meats.
Why should we care? Well, we need biodiversity to grow food, or in other words, to survive.
If we only grew one type of corn, a plant disease could easily wipe it out. When there are many types of corn in a field, some may be resistant to the disease. Food security depends on resilient, diverse crops and animals being able to overcome diseases and the effects of climate change.
The diversity that keeps life going also applies to things like soil microbes that carry nutrients to a variety of insects and birds, who in turn pollinate valuable crops. These are adversely affected by the chemical pesticides and herbicides that often go along with industrial farming.
Meanwhile, it is small farmers, fisher folk and herders – among the poorest people in the world – who hold much of what’s left of the world’s biodiversity in their hands. Biodiversity offers more nutritional options, opportunities to raise incomes, a reservoir of plants to use for medicine, and most importantly a safeguard for our future food supply.
This new video from Slow Food tells the story of why biodiversity is important for our food and our future.
What can you do?
To move forward, Slow Food is focusing not on what we have lost, but on what we can still save.
To help protect biodiversity and food cultures, everyone is invited to nominate a product to the Slow Food Ark of Taste - our catalogue of edible plants, breeds and products linked to specific regions that are at risk.
Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe Belgium | 03/07/2014
The European Commission has adopted the Communication "Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe" to establish a common and coherent EU framework to promote the circular economy.
Slow Food Italy Comments on the Start of Italy’s Six-Month European Presidency Belgium | 02/07/2014
“Italy’s presidency of the European Union will undoubtedly be a unique occasion for our country to set the pace on important issues, firstly the regulations on seeds and GMOs, but also animal welfare and the right to food,” said Gaetano Pascale, the president of Slow Food Italy. “That’s why we are sending our best wishes to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his team. We hope Italy will leave its mark on the future of Europe, bringing important reforms for the economy and policies on agriculture, energy and immigration. We also hope to see the creation of a Common Agricultural Policy that takes a holistic approach to the food system, contributing to the fight against waste, the protection of biodiversity and greater support for the role of local producers and consumers. Renzi said that he hopes Europe will find its soul. We at Slow Food are ready to work hard every day to help that happen.”
What is the impact of neonicotinoids on biodiversity and ecosystems? United Kingdom | 27/06/2014
This video highlights the results of the Worldwide Integrated Assessment report on the use of neonicotinoids and provides a comprehensive, independent analysis on the use of systemic pesticides and their consequences.
Feeding the 5000! Belgium | 16/06/2014
Back in April, Feeding the 5000 landed in Brussels, bringing a strong message against food waste to town.
Slow Food and the Slow Food Youth Network were partners of the event.
Check out the video below to find out more about the day and all the partners involved.