Food Wave activists at the 11th “Let’s Liberate Diversity” Forum - Food Wave

Food Wave activists at the 11th “Let’s Liberate Diversity” Forum

13 December 2022


“Let’s liberate biodiversity” (LLD) is the European network of grassroot organisations working to encourage and upscale the cultivated biodiversity in gardens and farms. Genetic diversity and food varieties are a matter of relentless research, exchange and shared responsibility. You either use it or lose it. Between 27 and 29 October, the 11th Summit of LLD took place in Budapest. Food Wave activists Virginia Pignata and Ottavia Pieretto joined the event in representation of ACRA’s commitment for participatory and regenerative food systems. 

During the 3 days in the Bulgarian capital, a multitude of topics were addressed: from the potential deregulation of new GMOs to the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, from how to improve and reuse forgotten crops and cultivars to food sovereignty and peasant autonomy. The aim of this platform is indeed to bring back diversity into food systems, in a socially and economically sustainable way through the whole food chain.

Within this framework, our Food Wave activists took part in the discussion on how to link great efforts on the production side to a paradigm shift on the demand side. As no change can be durable and systemic if not broadly accepted, a crucial point would then be: how do we make sustainable diets mainstream?

This rather complex question was the starting point for a workshop that involved people with completely different backgrounds, who had to consider the position of policymakers on one hand, or of the food industry on the other. The role-play aimed at collectively reasoning about the complexities of our food systems that force us into diets in which biodiversity is a often a faraway concept, because diversity is not easily accessible nor affordable. When addressing the need of safeguarding biodiversity, do we ever stop and consider how easy (or not) it is to “eat biodiversity”? Indeed, are we, as farmers, researchers, experts, activists actually able to do it?

Groups were asked to reason upon the barriers and interests along our supply chains that intersect with the need for biodiversity protection to cope with the climate crisis. This eventually leads to the realisation that (huge yet strategic) compromises are needed if we are to involve all actors (small and giant, local and global) in order to achieve significant changes. Collective efforts to upscale the effects of climate-friendly diets can’t indulge in niche markets and local initiatives only, but should rather engage in dialogue with mainstream channels and big political and economic players in (global) food systems. During the workshop, the lack of knowledge of consumers was highlighted as a key issue to face, and that’s where policy-makers and the civil society have a common role to play, addressing the reality of economic, social and educational barriers that citizens with a low income face to choose a “sustainable” and “biodiverse” diet.

We have been glad to join this important Forum and to bring Food Wave’s values into it. Biodiversity is not only an agronomic matter, but a raised awareness and shared commitment is needed to truly liberate it.

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