In a joint statement addressed to the key institutions of the European Union, 28 organizations working on human rights, migration, agriculture, environment, and public health assert: “our food supply is at risk, as it greatly depends on unrecognised workers living in uncertain and unsafe conditions.”
The joint statement, co-signed by Slow Food Europe, highlights that the labor shortages that we are experiencing today due to the new coronavirus and the closure of borders demonstrate how European agriculture depends to a large extent on migrant (and largely undocumented) workers. In fact, migrant workers represent a significant proportion of workers picking our fruits and vegetables as well as packing and processing our food. Beyond issues of food supply, light must be shed on the dramatic labor conditions in the agri-food sector which have been ignored for far too long, and which represent a potential risk for the spread of the pandemic among workers.
The sense of community, mutual help, attention to the most vulnerable groups or to those who are working for the good of society as a whole, starting with hospital workers, are the feelings emerging most in these weeks of health, economic and social crisis.
As Italy was the first country to be hit by COVID-19 in Europe, local Slow Food groups were the first to find ways to support their communities, local farmers, artisans and producers. Out of tens if not hundreds of examples of Slow Food resilience and solidarity in Italy, we have chosen a few of the most inspiring and uplifting ones.
Today the battle to defend biodiversity has become crucial, because it is the battle to preserve the survival of the entire planet, as well as humanity itself: what we are facing today is the irreparable loss of entire ecosystems, a global climate crisis that threatens us all and the development of infectious diseases with devastating consequences, as demonstrated by what we are experiencing these days. Let us take stock.
It’s been over two weeks since the World Health Organization officially characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic, and a little over a month since the first registered contagion in the Netherlands. The full impact of the pandemic is anyone’s guess at this point. But in the past weeks, we’ve seen that many people and businesses in the Dutch Slow Food network already have taken a hard hit.
With ever more people unable to do their everyday groceries, increasing signs of solidarity and resistance emerge from throughout the Slow Food network across the Balkans and Turkey.
Now, more than ever, the direct supply chains remain of the vital importance to safeguard people’s access to food. However, many farmers’ markets that Slow Food initiated across the region – including several Earth Markets – have either been shut down or are operating under limited capacities. Slow Food farmers and producers, though, have found a way to provide fresh food products for their communities. Across the Balkans and Anatolia, our small-scale artisan farmers keep delivering food door to door.
The current outbreak of the coronavirus #COVID19 has disrupted the lives of almost every country in the world. With Europe currently being an epicenter of the pandemic, many countries are under lockdown, with people confined to their homes, schools, and workplaces closed, and only essential businesses still operating.
As Slow Food, we want to send out a message of solidarity to all those hard hit by this crisis, who are countless, also within our movement. Think, for instance, of the restaurants that had to close for weeks. We also want to send out a message of hope: in Italy, where our mothership is based, kids have been hanging at their windows big drawings saying “Tutto andrà bene” – everything will be fine.