The Call to Action: a tool for everyone

27 Feb 2020

Slow foodies! We need you!

Last month we shared the first documents which will guide us on the path towards the International Congress, which will be held from October 8-12 in Turin, at the same time as Terra Madre Salone del Gusto. Our intention is to involve as many members and activists as possible in these wide reflections on the future of Slow Food, sewing seeds along the path towards the Congress with the ideas, opinions and inputs of everyone who wants to participate.

The document shared at the end of January, an urgent call to Slow Down, aims to make our actions more effective and our impact more measurable. We asked you to read it and comment and many of you have responded, as ever with stimulating reflections. We’d like to invite you to send us your comments, if you haven’t already, before March 31 to [email protected]

To summarize the content of all the contributions received so far would be very difficult: there have been around 300 responses! But we’ll try to give you a taste of some of the reflections which have arrived.

Food security, climate crisis, animal welfare

In the Philippines, on the west coast of the island of Luzon, the Taal volcano threatens local communities. Many of them have evacuated, and they don’t have access to good, nutritious food, as many farms have been damaged. The community which has written to us proposes that we focus our attention on the resilience of ecosystems and food systems, specifically with regards to areas which are becoming more vulnerable because of the climate crisis. Food security must therefore be more central to our agenda.

The theme of food security is also relevant in Rwanda, where natural disasters like strong winds and erosion are destroying the rural heritage and local food system. It’s more important than ever that we we learn how to put strategies into action to confront these events, which also means raising awareness of them.

From France to Switzerland, experts and members invite us to strengthen our politics regarding animal welfare – that is to say, for the good treatment of animals – and to give this theme greater emphasis, because animal farming is a central element in food production, and it can have negative repercussions for the health of the planet.

From Belgium, meanwhile, the lack of the soil in our document has been highlighted, underlining how crucial it is to work to regenerate the soil in order to maintain healthy, fertile terrain.

Words are important: Inspiration alongside education, acting in the present to shape the future

Many of you have drawn our attention to our choice of words. It’s not just a question of style, of course, because words contain ideas, they declare intentions, and clarify objectives.

For example, in the Call to Action we talk about education, and some have suggested that we put this word alongside others like learning or inspiration. The exchange of knowledge in our network is characterized by sharing and dialog, not by rigid or scholastic models. What we often do is inspire (and allow ourselves to be inspired), propose models and share experiences, thanks to which people can undertake their own journeys of discovery, improve their emotional intelligence, think about connections and get to work.

While we’re talking about future models, we should concentrate on the marvelous models which are already in action, those which have already been tested, implemented, and which have demonstrated their impact. The world is full of such models, and fortunately Slow Food can give an enormous contribution in this regard. That being said, we must also do more, moving forward from the stories of positive experiences to a more radical and incisive transformation.

Lastly, we’ve been talking for a long time about food biodiversity as a form of diversity linked to food from the biological, ecological, cultural and anthropological points of view. We should push ourselves in the future to try and represent this wider vision, and speak about biological and cultural diversity.

For a more inclusive movement and a more inclusive world

Some of the most important comments we’ve received are those which invite to think about questions of gender, the dialog between generations, the vulnerability of many indigenous peoples, and argue in favor of an inclusive world. In the Call to Action we talk about the necessity of inclusion and participation of those who are all too often victims of transgressions, who struggle to make their vital voice heard. We will continue to do so, guaranteeing an equal representation in the congressional works and at Terra Madre.

Please continue to send us your observations and proposals before March 31, to allow us to integrate them all before the next meeting of the International Council in June. We will fly the flag of this Call to Action even high, to make it a tool everyone, by everyone.

by Ludovico Roccatello, [email protected]

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