Food for Change, Slow Food’s international campaign highlighting the relationship between food and climate change, continues in November. After working with all of you during the Food for Change Challenge, now it’s time to celebrate food producers together with the Slow Food network around the world.
“We must have the courage to transform the problem into an opportunity,” says José Antonio Casimiro Gonzalez, a Slow Food member and farmer from Cuba. “Climate change is a reality from which we cannot escape, especially in the Caribbean where we experience it every day. My farm was destroyed by a tornado last year. Nature is asking us to change. We must change direction and choose agroecological practices, turning them into a model for life. And we must also reward those local producers who often feel abandoned and in last place. We have to promote them, to make people realize that it’s different when you eat food that has soul. That’s where change starts from.”
It’s in this spirit that in November Slow Food’s Food for Change campaign wants to celebrate producers of good, clean and fair food, those heroes who every day tend the land with love and take care of the planet and its climate.
“Even 10 years ago, if you’d told me that I would end up farming, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Roberta Billitteri tells us. Now she grows Badda beans and Polizzi Generosa peppers, two Sicilian Slow Food Presidia. “I had decided that I wanted to change the world but I thought I would do it in a different way. Then I realized that we need to work the land, to get our hands dirty. I understood that Mother Nature teaches you to work with rules that cannot be changed. And this work must be done with consciousness and dignity, sharing values and involving your own community.”
Protecting local food production, and small-scale food producers, is the solution in Africa too. “Climate change is a reality in Burkina Faso,” says Jean Marie Koalga, Slow Food Councilor for West Africa. “You can tell from the rains. Extreme events are increasingly common, from floods to droughts. How can we fight all of this? The answer cannot be to give in to the logic of GMOs, of monocultures and synthetic chemicals. For us, the response can be found in the communities, in discovering the local varieties and traditional agricultural practices that are best suited to the environmental context. The response to climate change is to protect biodiversity, and also the producers, who must be made aware of the importance of their work and be rewarded for it.”
There are many ways, from organizing events to thank food producers to creating an award to promote their stories and increase awareness of their products.
Here are some ideas for celebrating your favorite food producers:
At the farmers’ market
Organize a breakfast, snack or drinks for the producers at your nearest farmers’ market. It’s a great way to get to know them and thank them for their hard work!
Lunches, dinners, disco soups…
Picnics, eat-ins, lunches and dinners at schools, restaurants, homes, farms or public places mean you can share the pleasure of good, clean and fair food with a wider public. By inviting food producers to come along, participants can learn more about local gastronomy. These occasions are also an opportunity to remember that food is pleasure, culture and conviviality.
Organizing a trip to a farm or other food producer is an excellent way to strengthen links between producers and consumers. The result is a direct educational experience, during which people can discover new foods, learn from the producers and see with their own eyes the production models that we are committed to promoting.
Food education activities
These activities can take different forms and can be organized for many different groups of people: children and adults, teachers, producers, Slow Food members and supporters. Examples include initiatives in school gardens, guided tastings with the participation of a local producer, exchanges between different generations and workshops. Always remember to get your local food producers involved!
Present a special prize and create an event
Choose to recognize a group of producers for their commitment to protecting the environment and biodiversity. Organize an event, tell their story and get as many people involved as possible.