Pleasure and Politics

09 Sep 2011

Slow Food President Carlo Petrini is meeting with Germany’s Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Ilse Aigner today in Berlin to discuss the topic of food waste in Europe. Petrini and Aigner agree that a root change in thinking about food production and consumption is unavoidable, in view of the growing problems of climate change, world hunger and diminishing resources.

The Minister will be announcing a study on food waste in Germany to be complete by the end of the year; due to the country’s current unsustainable level of waste. She will also discuss with Petrini the forthcoming reform of Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Together with Slow Food Germany’s Chair Ursula Hudson, Petrini will present the movement’s views recently published in the position paper Towards a New Common Agricultural Policy as part of Slow Food’s Slow Europe campaign.

“It is important for us to bring our position on this crucial issue to the highest decision-makers. Slow Food has a responsibility to the thousands of consumers and producers who join us as members and supporters, who are conscious about food and want to give it a central value in their lives,” said Hudson.

Slow Food is calling for the CAP to focus on supporting small and medium-sized producers to achieve their potential for sustainable production and to encourage more young people to take up agriculture. To date, the policy has been tailored towards industrial food production, destroying traditional models of European agriculture and damaging the health of humans and ecosystems. Small-scale farmers are cultural custodians, with a powerful role in shaping landscapes and preserving regional breeds, fruit and vegetable varieties and invaluable traditional knowledge and skills.

Following his meeting with the minister, Petrini will venture out into local fields to help gather fresh produce for a community meal focused on raising awareness of food waste. To highlight the issue, volunteers will be gleaning the fields – picking up the potatoes and other vegetables that remain post-harvest due to their perceived small, large or ill-shapen size – and provoking the public, supermarkets and agricultural and marketing sector to rethink this blatant waste of good, nutritious foods.

Petrini will join the ‘Teller statt Tonne’ long-table lunch along the banks of the Reichstag on Saturday, part of the food waste campaign by Slow Food Germany together with Bread for the World and the Church Development Service. Over the meal of harvest leftovers and other good food destined for the trash, the guests – representing Slow Food, the church, politics, agriculture and the food industry – will discuss food abundance and agricultural overproduction and its consequences for the global economy and consumers.

For more information on Slow Food German’s campaign: www.slowfood.de

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