Rewriting the future of food and farming #3

To be able to propose structural changes for our current food system, we need knowledge, practicalities and vision. During Terra Madre Giovani - We Feed the Planet, we will use the participants’ knowledge to write the so-called Mansholt Letter to world leaders calling for radical change in the food system. We asked Andrea Leu,president of IFOAM Organic International, Mani Jorge Stanley Icaza, who is part of the Indigenous tribe ‘Kuna’ in Panama and representative of the International Indian Treaty Council, Pieter van Ijzendoorn, a biodynamic farmer in the Netherlands, and Hanny van Geel, a representative of the Dutch Arable Farmers Union in the European coordination of La Via Campesina about their visions of the future of food and farming, as well as to whom they would like to send a letter.

Andrea Leu is the president of IFOAM Organic International, has been an organic farmer for more than 40 years and is based in Australia.

Andrea Leu: “We don’t have invent any more technologies, we don’t need to do any more research, all we have to do is educate, train and scale up existing good practices. We can feed the world tomorrow.




Mani Jorge Stanley Icaza is part of the Indigenous tribe ‘Kuna’ in Panama and representative of the International Indian Treaty Council that works on human right issues of Indigenous people to influence the system of the United Nations.

Mani Jorge Stanly Icaza “The first of our objectives is to empower and support the Small Scale Producers.”.. “They have their own live and their own ways of growing food. In one way or another they are all being threatened, on a global level



Pieter van Ijzendoorn grew up on a family farm with all sorts of agriculture and horticulture and is now running a biodynamic farm called ‘Zonnehoeve’ in the Netherlands. He is dedicated to biodynamic farming and how it can contribute positively to food production and the environment.

Pieter van Ijzendoorn: “The main question is one of power. In the global financial and economic system, the control over available resources, such as land, lies in the hands of the industrial agricultural system. This has little to do with farmers or citizens, but is purely motivated by short term financial gain." 

We have to ask ourselves the question: What is the true cost of food?



Hanny van Geel is a representative of the Dutch Arable Farmers Union in the European coordination of La Via Campesina that is the worldwide movement of 200 million peasant farmers.

Hanny van Geel: “There is a very sustainable agricultural system in the world, but it is not recognized.” .. “So, if we want to change something we have to look back at where we start: people growing food for their own communities.”

Listen to her opinion on the sustainable agricultural system we have now, the possibility of having food sovereignty, about the existing so-called ‘free trade’-agreements and the holistic view she would prefer to take.

The Mansholt Letter is a project of Het Nieuwe Instituut in collaboration with Slow Food.