Meet today’s influencers. Some advocate organic and sustainable foods, while others argue that we should genetically manipulate our food produce in order to feed the world.
The professor explains that organic agriculture requires six times the acreage that mainstream farming does. Genetic improvements, she argues, are a quick method to increase crop yields and quality, making more food available for human consumption. Genetically engineered tomatoes, for instance, are less perishable and genetic modifications can let fish grow up to three times as fast. The professor also believes that space must be used more efficiently, for example by placing fish ponds in basements and parking garages and by producing crops on city rooftops. 'Hamburgers in Paradise’ is currently being translated into English. Publication is expected in 2014.
PROFESSOR ON A MISSION
'Craft bakeries are not going to feed the world,’ according to Louise Fresco. This Dutch professor believes we should be grateful for mass produced supermarket bread. She thinks this is the only way we can continue to feed the growing world population.
Fresco vs. Slow Food
Fresco is an advocate of genetic modification and argues that we can’t feed the billions who populate the earth through small scale and organic agriculture. Her book ‘Hamburgers in Paradise’ caused a lot of commotion, by criticizing organic agriculture and thus directly opposing the principles of Slow Food.
THE SLOW FOOD GURU
The Italian Carlo Petrini is often called the father ofthe Slow Food Movement, Carlo Petrini used to be an international spokesman for farmers. He advocated the protection of local food specialties against encroachment by the global food industry.
Protest and Activism
In 1986 he organized protest activities against the fast food chain McDonald’s, when the company announced plans to open a franchise near the Spanish Steps in Rome. A few months later, Petrini founded Slow Food. Members of the movement value traditionally produced sustainable foods that contribute to protecting biodiversity and the existing landscape, and for which producers receive fair payment. Nowadays, the Slow Food Movement counts more than 100.000 members in one hundred and fifty countries.
The Slow Food Movement strives to make consumers conscious of the impact of their eating habits, through education and events, such as eat-ins, debates, and a Food Film Festival. In 2013 Petrini received the Champions of the Earth Award from the UN. This award is given each year to people who have a positive and measurable impact on the environment.
Critics argue that the movement is elitist, because it ignores cheap methods of food production and preparation. Petrini’s supporters, nevertheless, consider the Slow Food approach an economical solution, as it reduces the costs of transportation and chemical pesticides.
A ‘Baker Street’, ‘Grain Market’, or ‘Miller’s Way,’ every town with some history has such streets. Food has shaped our cities, writes the British architect Carolyn Steel in her bestseller Hungry City.
For over four years, Steel researched the past, present, and future of our cities. She examined the routes our food takes from countryside to city. She studied how we deal with food at markets, in supermarkets, in kitchens, and on our plates. Her conclusion: environmental pollution, wasted energy, and mountains of refuse.
THE FOOD URBANIST
An increasing number of people live in an urban environment, while food is produced at ever greater distances. She believes we ought not to rely on this anonymous food industry that produces far from the city, but should take responsibility for our food supply as a community, in the heart of the city.
Steel finds a good example of this in the supermarketPark Slope Food Coopin New York. The supermarket only offers organic and locally produced products. The members of the store are obligated to work four hours a month in the coop without pay. As no salaries need to be paid, the prices can be kept low.
this practice in 2001, in response to the epidemic of mad cow disease (BSE). As a result, forty million tons of soy bean sprouts are imported every year.
In 2013 Stuart fattened eight hogs in his office’s rooftop garden. He did so using food refuse and leftover grain from breweries. In November, the hogs were slaughtered and served at a Feeding the 5000 dinner - a free meal for five thousand people, made from food that restaurants and supermarkets throw away, because it no longer looks appetizing enough; or from food that farmers never harvested or were unable to sell. To date, this project has been organized in six different countries.
THE NO WASTE HERO
A third of the worldwide food production goes unconsumed due to a shortage of infrastructure for transportation and storage; to losses incurred in processing and packaging our food; and to consumers who don’t eat what they buy. In the U.S. this loss can run as high as 1500 euros for a family of four.
Of the many global problems we face, this is one that we can actually do something about, argues the British food activist Tristram Stuart (1977). He has garnered increasing worldwide attention from politicians, supermarket chains, and academics. One of his political demands is that European pigs should once again be fed with food refuse. Europe prohibited
Text: Chantal Arnts & Babette Rijkhoff | Music: Bobby Hebb - Sunny
Meet today’s influencers. Some advocate organic and sustainable foods, while others argue that we should genetically manipulate our food produce in order to feed the world. Differing visions, but one common purpose: to create a fundamental change in the way we think about and deal with food.