Food and Climate
04 Nov 08 – Sloweb

As part of the joint Terra Madre-Salone del Gusto series of conferences held over October 23-27 in Torino Italy, the International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture presented the new Manifesto on Climate Change and the Future of Food Security to a full auditorium. The manifesto is based upon the strong link between climate change and agriculture, drawing attention to the contribution to the problem by the industrial globalized food system and the potential to mitigate it by adapting to ecological and organic farming. Indian scientist and activist Vandana Shiva, founder of NGO Navdanya and vice-president of Slow Food International, elaborated on each of the manifesto’s nine points, providing a passionate summary of its principles. Shiva argued that as 35 percent of the climate change crisis comes from agriculture, therefore 35 percent of the solution also lies in farming and food and that we must look seriously at this vital component in analyses of climate change and discussions of possible solutions. She argued that we must return to sustainable, local, biodiverse systems that are better adapted to dealing with the cyclones and floods created by climate change, as well as contributing to cleaner air and water and better food. Shiva had harsh words for the genetic engineering industry, saying that this supposed “miracle solution” to climate change and food security was false: ‘First they are causing climate change and then they are forcing you to buy patented climate-resistant seeds,’ Shiva said. Slow Food International President Carlo Petrini recalled when he first met Shiva five years previously at a meeting of some of the world’s greatest environmentalists. As a gastronomist, he said, they all looked at him, wondering if he was going to talk about peppers or cheese when they were discussing the future of the world. But now the importance of agriculture was better understood. Food is the way to solve the problem, he stated, the way to understand the complexity of the world. Petrini focused on the manifesto’s eighth point, knowledge transition for climate adaptation. ‘This is the central point, the most important cultural and political point,’ he stated. ‘Virtuous practices already exist in the cultural biodiversity of the farmers of the world. They have extraordinary knowledge and there must be a dialog with official science, an honest, frank and sincere dialog as equals.’ Download the Manifesto on Climate Change and the Future of Food Security in five languages here,