A Declaration for Better Food

30 Oct 2009

“Today’s work here at Terra Madre Austria, and the adoption of the Vienna Declaration represents a new strategic basis for our work,” said Slow Food President Carlo Petrini at the closing of the two-day event on Thursday evening.

“Now our work really starts, and we must ensure that policy makers can take these ideas forward,” said Petrini. “We must recognize that the farmers, cooks, students, researchers, food artisans and others who participated in Terra Madre Austria hold essential skills and intelligence for our future. We must ensure that all EU governments and European Parliament listen not only to the multinationals, but also to small farmers who really understand how to take care of the environment.”

The Vienna Declaration was accepted by the 300 hundred farmers, cooks, students, researchers and activists who participated in Terra Madre Austria – a one day conference on the topic of diversity, and two-day event which attracted thousands of visitors, including many school and university groups, to the City Hall to meet selected small-scale producers and farmers from across the country in the Biodiversity Market and participate in Taste Workshops and educational activities.

The declaration was developed in the lead up to Terra Madre Austria, and is the first political declaration by Slow Food in this nation explained Peter Zipser, Slow Food Ark Commissioner and one of the four editors of the Declaration. “It is important as it was developed over several months, including contributions from our Slow Food members, producers and from other organizations working on similar issues,” said Peter. “It will be a tool for Slow Food convivia across Austria, and unite us by providing a national platform.”

The declaration makes the following demands:

The promotion of farmers’ markets, local, organic and fresh seasonal products as well as, short food chains.

The preservation and care of bio-cultural diversity, the promotion of seeds and breeds variety and the related empirical knowledge on growing, processing, foods, drinks and the use of the related typical cultural modes of expression such as festivals, songs, or customs.

The switch from agricultural methods requiring an intense use of chemistry and energy to ecological and organic production.

The choice of low water consumption agriculture – the prime objectives should be the re-utilization of water, abolishment of intense irrigation, and stop of ground water drainage.

Channeling public investments into ecological, local, and organic nutrition models minimizing climate change and increasing food safety.

Ending subsidies to conventional food and agriculture not considering and complying with the above.

Abolishing subsidies for agro-fuels and laws inducing their use.

The approval of genetically-engineering free zones: WTO policies and standards need to be reformed to clearly confirm the comprehensive and explicit rights of regions and national states to remain as free of genetically modified food as they choose to do.

The re-establishment of the right to free decision of farmers and gardeners as to what varieties grow in their gardens and fields, to pass on their varieties, and the right to freely decide what breeds to keep on their pastures and in their stables, to process for consumption, and to market.

Abolishing normative economic and physical impediments in the way of a regionalization of agriculture.

To download the Vienna Declaration of Terra Madre Austria 2009 in English, German or Italian, click here

Terra Madre Austria is organized by the City of Vienna and Slow Food, with support from the Austrian Ark/Presidia Commission.


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