On Saturday January 17, almost 50,000 people gathered in Germany’s capital to call for a change of course in the global food system. Joining an annual demonstration known as “Wir haben es satt” (We are fed up!), the event brought people from all walks of life together, from farmers and beekeepers to civil society organizations and consumers. It was the biggest turn out the event has seen so far.
Led by a procession of tractors, the demonstrators took to the streets to voice their concerns on issues such as factory farming, food waste, GMOs and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement between the EU and the United States.
“Eating is political. Every single decision I make about what to buy determines how animals are kept, or what grows in our fields. I can make sure that I support the farmers and not the big agricultural industry corporations”, rally organizer Jochen Fritz told the crowd assembled in front of Angela Merkel’s chancellery – the end point of demonstration route.
As in previous years, the event was held to coincide with the International Green Week – Europe’s biggest agricultural fair that takes place in Berlin every January. Given the large numbers taking part in this year’s demonstration, it would be difficult for those attending the fair, such as Europe’s agricultural ministers, to ignore their message.
With one event over, elsewhere in town preparations were already well underway for another: the Berlinale. The Berlin Film Festival is one of the most important events in the movie calendar. Every February, directors, actors, journalists and cinema fans from all over the world travel to the city for the internationally famed event.
In recent years, with the help of Slow Food, a section of the festival has been dedicated to the world of food. Known as the Culinary Cinema (Kulinarisches Kino), it shows current features, documentaries and short films that deal with different topics related to the food system.
Alongside awards for films, every year a so-called Camera award is presented “to personalities or institutions to which the festival feels particularly indebted”. This year, the award went to Slow Food International President Carlo Petrini and Vice-President Alice Waters. Presented on February 8, the prize was collected personally by Carlo Petrini.
As the curtain falls on both events, it is clear that Berlin is an epicenter of activity for the Slow Food movement. We look forward to seeing what the rest of the year has in store!