Rewriting the Future of Food and Farming #4

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 Patrick Holden, chief executive of the Sustainable Food Trust (UK), Small Scale Farmer and general coordinator of La Via Campesina in Zimbabwe Elizabeth Mpofu, Renate Künastchair chair of Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen, and the former Minister of Consumer protection, Food and Agriculture in Germany and John Kariuki, working for Slow Food in Kenya about their visions of the future of food and farming, as well as to whom they would like to send a letter.

Patrick Holden, chief executive of the Sustainable Food Trust (UK), which mission is to accelerate the transmission to small sustainable food systems. While he has been working for different organizations before, like the Soil association, he also has been a dairy farmer since 1973. Due to his experiences, he knows exactly how the current food system works and has ideas on how to improve it.

Patrick Holden: “If you want to achieve a systematic change in a farming system, away from the current orthodoxy you have to ask yourself what interventions are necessary to bring about a shift.” Listen to his answer on the interventions that have to be made for the future of food and farming.

The Small Scale Farmer Elizabeth Mpofu, who also is General Coordinator La Via Campesina (Zimbabwe), is practicing sustainable agriculture and tries to implement agroecology into the farms. One of the biggest challenges the agriculture in Zimbabwe is facing now is the issue of seeds.

Elizabeth Mpofu: “What about small scale farmers? Who is supporting them? At the end of the day we say ‘we are hungry, there is no food’. And that is not the way it should go.”

Living in her country as a Small Scale Producer is a challenge on its own; it’s a life with fear and a lot of treats.

Renate Künast is the chair of Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen,of the law and consumer protection’s committee and she is the former Minister of Consumer protection, Food and Agriculture (Germany). She has a clear vision on the future of our food and the changes to be made.

Renate Künast: There is no good healthy and fair food, there isn’t access to land and there isn’t healthy soil. (..) The question is not ‘how do we feed the world’; the question is ‘how do the people of the world feed themselves’

John Kariuki is now living and working in Kenya, but has studied at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra, Italy until 2010. Once he went back to Kenya, he start working for Slow Food International and  with Small Scale Producers.

John Kariuki: “Every year, every planting season they have to go to the shops to buy seeds, to buy inputs (...) That is not where we want to go. Family farming, sustainable farming is the only way that farmers can be able to add something to what they do.”

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