Young food activists from 13 European countries came together in Amsterdam for a three-day conference this Terra Madre Day to discuss the next phase for the newly renamed Slow Food Youth Network, its goals for 2012 and how to increase collaboration.
Since the Youth Food Network was launched in 2007 at the Slow Food International Congress, a strong and active presence has been established in many countries while others are still in early stages. The Amsterdam meeting was organized by Youth Food Movement Netherlands, one of the most active national groups, to share resources and inspiration and develop the organizational structure of the network.
Slow Food International’s general secretary Paolo Di Croce, opened the proceedings on Friday December 9 by expressing the association’s desire and need to see more youth leading the campaign for good, clean and fair food, emphasizing “I am here mostly to listen to you”. Each of the 21 delegates went on to share their region’s situation and put forward topics for discussion, which continued into the evening at a regional dinner prepared by chef Geert Burema of Merkelbach restaurant.
The following morning delegates regrouped for workshops on organizational skills, such as fundraising, campaigning and public relations, before turning their attention to a key European campaign for Slow Food in 2012: lobbying for a better, cleaner and fairer Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). That evening the youth conference joined a Terra Madre Day event organized by YFM Netherlands that brought together 160 people in a debate about the future CAP, which is currently under review.
The conference closed by looking forward, establishing working groups on the new CAP campaign and Terra Madre 2012 and adopting the new name Slow Food Youth Network for the collective of international youth groups joined through the Slow Food association.
“Youth Food Movement groups will be changing their names in the near future, but are not forced to do so immediately,” said Janno Lanjouw from the Netherlands. “The important thing is the structures are now in place – let the action come!”