On 18 January, 30,000 people took to the streets of Berlin in a rally that took over the city center, demanding an end to agribusiness and support for Europe’s small-scale farmers. Wir Haben Es Satt (We Are Fed Up) is organized by a coalition of different groups, including Slow Food Germany, and this year saw the biggest turnout in its four-year history.
The protesters made their way through the heart of the city, bringing it to a complete standstill, before arriving at a stage that had been constructed in front of the capital’s government buildings. Here a number of speakers addressed the crowd.
First up was Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini: ”Our message today is clear,” he said. ”If Europe loses its small farmers and its family farms, then it loses its history, it loses its culture, it loses its identity; it would not exist anymore.”
His audience was united by a set of common demands, including the global right to food and nourishment; healthy and affordable food for all; the promotion of farming that protects the environment and bees; and an end to monocultures, GMOs, food scandals and land grabbing.
As in previous years, the Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN) played a significant role in the programme. On the eve of the demonstration they organized a Disco Soup (Schnippel Disko) – their trademark action against food waste. Having gone global 2013, with events in New York, São Paolo and South Korea, the event in Berlin marked its official return to the city where it all began. Hundreds of people came together to scrub, chop and peel over 1000 kg of vegetables that would otherwise have gone to waste (accompanied by live music and DJs). A huge soup was then prepared and served to the demonstrators the following day.
In a workshop held after the demonstration, Petrini spoke directly to the young generation:
“I am going home full of joy of what I have witnessed today in Berlin: thousands of people who fight for sustainable and small-scale agriculture that is fair to the consumer, the producer and the environment. If this is the new generation, and these are the new movements for the future of Europe, then I am convinced that we will win this battle.”
Video: Carlo Petrini’s full speech in front of the government buildings (German and Italian)
Photos: Disco Soup (17.01.2014)
Photos: Wir Haben Es Satt demonstration (18.01.2014)