World Pulses Day: Slow Food’s Planting the Future

08 Fev 2024 | English

How our diet can protect the planet

Find out more with a new report and a social media challenge

On February 10th we celebrate the World Pulses Day 2024, whose topic is nourishing soils and people. Slow Food addresses the topic, supported by the recently presented Plant the Future report, and by the international Planting the Future challenge organized with the Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN). The challenge will be running over the month of February and aims at helping participants to know more about our food systems and diets and how we can better them while protecting our planet.

Slow Food communities are celebrating the World Pulses Day around the world with different original initiatives, guided by Slow Beans, the Slow Food thematic network that unites farmers, cooks and activists who reevaluate leguminous crops.

In the Philippines, Slow Food Negros will host an event with the Cooks Alliance Visayas and the farmers of the local Earth Market to promote the rich biodiversity of pulses in their region, by sharing delicious culinary creations legume-based. To find sustainable local legumes Slow Food Germany and the youth network have published a mapping of virtuous farmers who grow pulses locally.

The role of cooks as educators is also very important on this day. With the Aggiungi un legume a tavola initiative, Slow Food Italy involved more than 160 chefs from the national Slow Food Cooks Alliance, who on February 10 will include a legume-based dish in their menu with local varieties. Legumes are celebrate also in Spain: in Catalonia, a meeting of cooks from different countries around the world  will be promoted by Sitges municipality, Slow Food del Garraf i Penedès and the local Cooks Alliance on February. 21. They will cook a traditional legume-based vegetarian recipe from each country and then share their experiences and knowledge. In parallel, several restaurants and eateries in Sitges will join forces and offer legume-based dishes on their menus for two weeks.

Often underestimated or considered a side dish, Slow Food strongly believes that legumes are a key component of health and climate beneficial plant-rich diets, which are rich in plants (including vegetables, fruits, cereals, nuts, seaweeds and mushrooms) and with a lower consumption of animal products – all with respect for the animals, the people and the environment and following agroecological farming and fishing methods.

Leguminous crops, grown following agroecological principles, have have positive environmental impacts compared to industrial products of animal origin or industrial pulses cultivation, due to their significantly lower GHGs emissions, lower water and land use and their essential contribution to soil fertility. They should be seen as a valuable and enriching component of our nutrition, not simply as a substitution for products of animal origin.

Indeed, the Slow Food network reaffirms its  distance from  industrial food produced with heavy chemical inputs, as they negatively impact the health of people, planet and animals. On the contrary, pulses, plants and animals farmed respecting of people and the planet are key to ensure we achieve sustainable food systems we can all benefit from.

It is thus emblematic that this year’s annual pulses celebration emphasizes the nourishment of the soil, but also the nourishment of people. Not only are legumes a nutrient-dense source of food, affordable and accessible, but – as the FAO states – leguminous crops can provide a better life for farmers in water scarce environments, as they have a low water footprint, high drought tolerance and are more resilient to climate change. Moreover, pulses also improve soil health by providing and mobilizing nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and micronutrients. This is synergetic with the social aspect of agroecology, which supports and empowers farmers.

“It is time to say it loud and clear: we all know how augmenting the consumption of industrial food of animal origin in recent decades has been detrimental to food security and human health, disastrous for animal welfare, and has contributed greatly to the climate emergency”, comments Richard McCarthy, Slow Food Board member. “We need to take action, and we need to do it now. Our food system plays a key role when talking about biodiversity loss, emissions or pollution, especially when we refer to the impacts of factory farming, based on intensive methods, and intensive fishing on the environment, public health, food sovereignty, animals’ rights and more”. As stated by IPCC, a transition to organic farming and agroecological practices is key to reduce and adapt to adverse impacts of climate change.

“Within this perspective, we have to take into consideration that a significant section of the global population does not have access to nutrient-rich food grown in the respect of people, of the animals and of the planet , and we aim to give a voice to the most marginalized segments of the population and turn the spotlight to the needs at the local level”, adds Francesco Sottile, Slow Food Board member.

The solution

“The solution is agroecology, intended as a holistic and integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agriculture and food systems”, he concludes.

It is again IPCC which states how agroecological practices and other agricultural approaches that work with natural processes support food security, health and well-being, biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Agroecology is more than just a set of agricultural practices, and Slow Food, together with many civil society organizations, is convinced that it can play an important role in changing social relationships, empowering local communities and prioritizing short productive chains.

Planting the future social media challenge

Planting The Future is an online initiative that addresses issues connected to food systems and gives tips on how to face them, launched by Slow Food and the Slow Food Youth Network, with the support of Meatless Monday and the Center for a Livable Future of Johns Hopkins University.

Over 3000 participants have subscribed from 119 different countries: throughout February they will receive daily relevant content which will inspire them to implement more agroecological plant-rich food in their daily life learning through recipes, podcasts, documentaries and stories. They will take a deep dive into our food system and its challenges, get inspired to cook up plant-rich meals, learn about agroecology as a solution and get into action.

Check on our social media how the challenge is going on and follow Slow Food on Instagram to know more.

The report Plant the Future is available here

Aggiungi un legume a Tavola has been realized thanks to the support of the Slow Food Negroni Week Fund



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