“The future of agriculture in Europe is being decided now… right now is the time for action,” said Slow Food President Carlo Petrini last month, and the network is certainly seizing the moment. Stimulated by the urgency of the 2013 reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the Slow Food network is participating in discussions and meetings, but also organizing creative actions that demonstrate our desires for Europe’s food future and circulating short videos that capture the atmosphere, people and message of these events.
On April 1, the Power to the Pieper (pieper = potato) action saw a pile of organic potatoes dumped in Dams Square, Amsterdam, with members of Slow Food Youth (SFY) Netherlands inviting the public to take them home. “At this moment, potatoes are so lowly priced that this farmer cannot sell them on the market,” commented organizer Samuel Levie. “It’s actually cheaper for him to bring them here. We hope that people will realize how crazy it is that we are living with a food system in which food is actually worthless.”
Earlier in the year, 200 people chopped over a ton of vegetables for soup at long tables set up in a Berlin marketplace, with DJ’s spinning tunes in the background, at the first “Schnippeldisko” (chopping disco) organized by SFY Germany. “People say that chopping vegetables and working in the kitchen takes too much time,” said organizer Hendrik Haase, “but 200 people came tonight and we’re having fun celebrating this kitchen work as an act of culinary resistance.”
Around 8,000 servings of the “disco soup” were served the next day at the Wir haben es satt! (we’ve had enough) protest organized by Meine Landwirtschaft (my agriculture) campaign and Slow Food Germany. Forty organizations and 23,000 people gathered in central Berlin to draw attention to the need for a better approach to food production, with a particular focus on CAP reform.
Slow Food Bastille and SFY France brought the Disco Soup idea to Paris, preparing a selection of soups based on good food destined for the trash and serving them to passers by in Bastille Square to highlight food waste. On March 3, the two groups also organized the Eat- In dans le métro parisien when members spent two hours offering tastes of good, clean and fair foods and handing out leaflets on Paris metro trains and at 38 stations to educate citizens about the CAP 2013 process.
Also in March, the Food Film Festival organized by SFY Netherlands included the launch of the Food Politics – Rethinking Food in Europe networking website (www.foodpolitics.eu). “The energetic forum involved people from different countries and backgrounds,” said SFY Chairman Joris Lohman, one of the project founders. “We’ve laid the foundation for a community of people who are going to contribute their ideas and blog on the future of food for Europe.”
Finally, on April 20, Slow Food President Carlo Petrini represented the association’s many voices and actions at the EU conference, “Local agriculture and short food supply chains”. “I was honored to share the experience of Slow Food and to speak on behalf of the thousands of farmers, fishers, artisans and food communities that make up the movement’s network,“ said Petrini. “Current policies concerning rural development have proven to be inadequate and new agricultural paradigms are needed.”
In 2011, with the position paper Towards a New Common Agricultural Policy, Slow Food launched the Slow Europe campaign, calling for European policies that support sustainable small-scale producers, protect agro-biodiversity and encourage the involvement of young people in agriculture.
For more information on the many events and actions taking place as part of the Slow Europe campaign, please visit the website: www.slowfood.com/sloweurope