Growing in cities: Food production doesn’t only happen in fields or factories. Nearly 1 billion people worldwide produce food in cities. In Kibera, Kenya, the largest slum in Africa, farmers are growing seeds of indigenous vegetables and selling them to rural farmers. At Bell Book & Candle restaurant in New York, customers are served rosemary, cherry tomatoes, romaine, and other produce grown from the restaurant’s aeroponic rooftop garden.
Creating better access: People’s Grocery in Oakland, Calif., and Fresh Moves in Chicago bring mobile grocery stores to food deserts, giving low-income consumers opportunities to make healthy food choices. Instead of chips and soda, they provide customers with affordable organic produce, not typically available in their communities.
Eaters demanding healthier food: Food writer Michael Pollan advises not to eat anything that your grandparents wouldn’t recognize. Try eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole foods without preservatives and other additives.
Cooking more: Home economics classes have declined in schools in the United Kingdom and the United States. and young people lack basic cooking skills. Top Chefs Jamie Oliver, Alice Waters, and Bill Telepan are working with schools to teach kids how to cook healthy, nutritious foods.
Creating conviviality: According to the Hartman Group, nearly half of all adults in the US eat meals alone. Sharing a meal with family and friends can foster community and conversation. Recent studies suggest that children who eat meals with their families are typically happier and more stable than those who do not.
Focus on vegetables: Nearly 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies worldwide, leading to poor development. The World Vegetable Center, however, is helping farmers grow high-value, nutrient-rich vegetables in Africa and Asia, improving health and increasing incomes.
Preventing waste: Roughly one-third of all food is wasted – in fields, during transport, in storage, and in homes. But there are easy, inexpensive ways to prevent waste. Initiatives like Love Food, Hate Waste offer consumers tips about portion control and recipes for leftovers, while farmers in Bolivia are using solar-powered driers to preserve foods.
Engaging youths: Making farming both intellectually and economically stimulating will help make the food system an attractive career option for youths. Across sub-Saharan Africa, cell phones and the internet are connecting farmers to information about weather and markets. In the US. Food Corps is teaching students how to grow and cook food, preparing them for a lifetime of healthy eating.
Protecting workers: Farm and food workers across the world are fighting for better pay and working conditions. In Zimbabwe, the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe protects laborers from abuse. In the US, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers successfully persuaded Trader Joe’s and Chipotle to pay the premium of a penny-per-pound to Florida tomato pickers.
Acknowledging the importance of farmers: Farmers aren’t just farmers, they’re business-women and men, stewards of the land, and educators, sharing knowledge in their communities. Slow Food International works with farmers all over the world, helping recognize their importance to preserve biodiversity and culture.