A group of Balkan producers who have been working with Slow Food for many years to create real examples of small-scale, quality and sustainable agriculture, participated in the presentation of the latest global Oxfam campaign Grow! at Cheese on Friday September 16. The campaign is aiming to extend the organization’s efforts to reduce world poverty and hunger through practical examples such as the Slow Food Presidia.
Oxfam Italy’s campaign manager Elisa Bacciotti explained how the campaign starts with the idea that world hunger is not an unavoidable situation, and that conversely a ‘food secure’ world is not a utopia. However, with a billion people hungry today, despite the policies and action declared over past decades, a new course of action is required.
Oxfam believes a radical reform of the food system is necessary, as the current one cannot feed today’s population and is unlikely to become more successful as global population heads towards nine billion. Their focus is on finding ways to return the food system to the people; the interests of a handful of agro-businesses cannot continue to accumulate huge amounts of resources at the expense of poorer and poorer rural populations.
Thus, Grow! was created with the aim of identifying new approaches to cultivating food, as well as lifestyles more generally. With this campaign, Oxfam want to promote the kind of agriculture that has typically been pushed aside and marginalized by governments: that is, small-scale, local agriculture, sustainable from both a social and an environmental point of view.
The campaign has four main goals: supporting small-scale producers; fighting against land grabbing and climate change; and engaging in facing and preventing food crises. It is about finding new sustainable ways to produce and consume, enabling everyone to always have enough food.
At the end of the presentation, the Presidia present at Cheese who have been working with Slow Food and Oxfam were introduced – Cheese in a Sack from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Wild Fig Slatko and Mavrovo Reka Mountain Pasture Cheeses from Macedonia – and the audience invited to taste each of their unique products, which are helping to maintain the food traditions and security of the communities that produce them.