Slow Food at COP26

The Conference of the Parties must be ambitious in tackling the climate crisis. Slow Food will be in Glasgow to make the movement’s voice heard

Friday 29th October 2021.- “Slow Food is ready to make its voice heard during COP26, together with civil society and young people, because the next world climate conference in Glasgow starting on November 1st must accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change,” says Marta Messa, director of Slow Food Europe, announcing the presence of Slow Food at COP26. Food and farming must be part of the solution and no longer a cause of climate change.” 

“Agroecology, climate neutrality, social justice. These are the keywords which summarize Slow Food requests for COP26,” adds Messa.  “Industrial food systems contribute to up to a third of global emissions. Slow Food asks food and agriculture to be given the prominence they deserve in the final agreement of COP26.

Agroecology should be recognized as a central tool to tackle the multiple crises we face, including the climate crisis: agroecology is rooted in rebuilding relationships between agriculture and the environment, and between food systems and society. In order to meet climate neutrality by 2050, COP26 should pave the way for the transition towards agroecological food systems, where evidence shows that they keep carbon in the ground, support biodiversity, rebuild soil fertility and sustain yields over time, providing a basis for secure farm livelihoods. This transition must include an action plan to significantly reduce and improve the production and consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs, and to halve food waste by 2050.”

During COP26 Shane Holland, Executive Chairman of Slow Food UK will formally hand over the signatures to the global Slow Food Climate Action Declaration to the British government, which is hosting the Conference. Holland comments: “The declaration is critical in highlighting that food and farming can be part of the solution and not just a cause of climate change and that the voices of those less often heard are critical in a transition to a good, clean, and fair food system.”

On Wednesday, November 3, 2.00 p.m. Eastern Time (US and Canada), Slow Food International, Slow Food in the UK, and Slow Food USA are screening Raj Patel’s new documentary The Ants and the Grasshopper, followed by a panel discussion featuring Raj Patel, among others. This documentary, ten years in the making, weaves together the most urgent themes of our times: climate change, gender, and racial inequality, the gaps between the rich and the poor, and the ideas that groups around the world have generated in order to save the planet. Register for the screening event here.

On Friday, November 5 at 1.30 p.m. GMT, the Slow Food Indigenous Peoples network is participating in a COP26 side event hosted at the IFAD pavilion in collaboration with the Ministry of Ecological Transition (Hall 4): “Youth leading climate-resilient food systems at the global, national and local level” is the topic of the discussion. Youth engagement in relation to climate change is therefore fundamental. The notion of intergenerational equity is also among the key rationales behind the importance of making adaptation programmes responsive to the vulnerability of youth and placing future generations in the position to affect the formulation of present-day policies. This is particularly true for indigenous youth who inherit and practice significant land and ecosystem practices essential for climate adaptation. There will be speeches by Carlo Petrini, Slow Food President, Dali Nolasco Cruz, coordinator of the Indigenous Terra Madre network for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Carson Kiburo, a young Endorois, Slow Food activist, co-Chair of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus. 

On Thursday, November 11 from 9.30 to 10.15 a.m. GMT Edie Mukiibi, Slow Food vice president, will participate virtually in a panel discussion about food waste: “Winning the race: how to cut food waste?” which is taking place in the frame of the New York Times Climate Hub. Roughly a third of the food meant for human consumption is wasted each year in industrialized and developing countries alike. How can stemming food waste address both hunger and climate change? What are the policies, practices, technologies, and new business models we need to cut food waste around the world?  The NYT Climate Hub is located at 100 Eastvale Place, Glasgow, and is a hybrid event.

Slow Food Scotland is planting a lasting legacy for COP26 whilst also promoting biodiversity in Scotland: the group will plant an orchard of fruit trees at risk of extinction as a way to connect people with a passion for Slow Food, heritage flavours, biodiversity, and climate change. Tree planting is good for our planet: planting trees bearing fruit brings us a bountiful harvest of ethical food. Autumn is the best time to plant fruit trees, and Paul & Becky Newman at Errichel, House & Restaurant have been selected and kindly agreed to create a haven for this special orchard.

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Image by Alfred Derks from Pixabay