Interviews

Oxfam “Cultivates” wise consumers to reduce waste


THE five easy steps for a cultural revolution from below, of taste and habits, against food waste, for a "democratic" food system: he dictated them Oxfam with the "Cultivate" campaign which transforms anyone who joins it from consumer to CONSUMER. Everyone can do something if they think that "today there are almost a billion hungry but, at the same time, almost 50% of the population is obese and over 30% of the food produced is lost or wasted" as he reminds us Elisa Bacciotti, director of the Campaigns Department of Oxfam Italia.

1) What is Coltiva's goal? From what assumptions does it arise?

Countryside "GROW - food, life, the planet" it is a campaign that Oxfam launched around the world with the aim of reforming the food system so that everyone in the world always has enough food. This is not easy but necessary in a world where there are almost a billion hungry but where, at the same time, almost 50% of the population is obese and over 30% of the food produced is lost or wasted.

Clearly, we do not expect to be able to achieve this goal alone: ​​we want to work in Italy and in the world together with already existing movements, such as the world of Fair trade, Slow Food, i GAS, but also with businesses and local authorities that want to create a fairer and more sustainable food system.

In order to build a more just, equitable and sustainable food system, new solutions must be found to rebalance the system and better distribute resources. As consumers, with our choices we can make an important contribution to improving the food system, but we must pass from being consumers to being CONSUMERS.

For this Oxfam gave birth to the "CULTIVE" method: five easy steps to build a better system from our shopping cart.

2) What are they? Who are they for?

Reduce waste, follow the seasons, eat less meat, support food producers and cook with your head.

It is a method that is good and good for all consumers - as well as for the environment. Anyone can adopt the method: however we believe that women are the main protagonists of the method - since often, whether we like it or not, it is they who decide what to buy and what to cook for their family and therefore have a strong power in 'influence not only the habits of one's family but also those of future generations.

3) You claim that the global food system has broken down: what does this mean? What can be done?

The global food system has "broken" because the way it is organized produces obesity and hunger, waste and famine. And because the system is not strong or "resilient" enough to feed us in the future, in a world where natural resources are becoming increasingly limited and where climate change has negative effects on agriculture.

We have located 4 big goals to make the system more capable of running. First of all you have to stop large-scale land grabbing (land grabbing), because in many countries it literally takes the earth and livelihoods out of small-scale food producers to benefit large companies or food crops that are turned into biofuels. It is also necessary remedy price volatility: in recent years people have already been spending 70-80% of their income on food. Moreover climate change must be stopped working so that the states of the North of the World reduce their C02 emissions so that resources are invested to allow the poorest countries to adapt to the effects of climate change. Finally, Europe and the US need to invest in small-scale food producers instead of increasing aid to its agricultural sector which today is 79 times the total amount of public aid for agricultural development (ODA).

4) With Coltiva, is a culinary revolution from below possible? some examples of country or situation where it has already happened or possible scenarios if it happened?

Let's think about what would happen if… we didn't even throw an apple anymore. Oxfam has calculated that if we no longer throw away even one of the six apples that end up in the trash today, thus saving 5.3 billion apples every year, we would save an equal amount of greenhouse gases produced by growing, trading and decomposing these apples. to that obtained by burning 10 million barrels of oil. So a revolution is possible, if there are many.

Another example of supporting small producers: if consumers in Brazil, England, the United States and Spain bought two Fair Trade chocolate bars instead of the multinational brand, the more than 12.5 billion chocolate bars per year purchased could provide a new income opportunity for over 90,000 small-scale cocoa farms worldwide.

5) One of your goals is to support small farmers. What do the institutions do in this area? What could / should they do?

To date, the level of investment in support of small-scale agriculture in the South of the World, and also in Italy, is still lower than the necessary levels. L'sustainable agriculture, unlike the intensive one, it has the greater potential to feed the world in the future. It is necessary that the states of the North and the South of the world, the international institutions, starting with the UN agencies based in Rome: FAO, L'IFAD and the WFP, but also companies change their policies and practices to ensure that producers are remunerated in a stable and fair way for their work, and that they are protected from external shocks and natural disasters.

6) Can Coltiva also land in schools?

Absolutely yes! Oxfam Italy has developed an online platform that also favors the exchange between Italian students and students from other countries on the issues of food, food justice, the environment and provides teachers with teaching materials that address and deepen these issues.

7) How do you consider the Italian sensitivity to these issues compared to the rest of Europe? And what happens in the world?

Certainly in Italy, compared to other European countries such as Great Britain, there is great attention on these issues, and this is certainly due to the work that fair trade, Slow Food, GAS have done in the last 15 years.

Furthermore, outside Europe, there are countries where there is a lot to do. In Ecuador, for example, eating foods rich in animal fats and adopting an "American" lifestyle means being well off. In this country, Oxfam Italy conducted a specific project to re-evaluate the importance of traditional foods, such as amaranth and quinoa, which are considered there in a derogatory way "comida de indios" or food for the poor but which in Italy are instead sold in shops organic and sought after for their nutritional properties.

In short, there are many contradictions but the important thing is to make people both in Italy and in other countries aware and able to make informed choices.

The video on COLTIVA, the new OXFAM campaign for a better future, in which everyone has enough food, always.

Interview byMarta Abbà