No gastronomy without biodiversity, says Slow Food founder

The destruction of the world’s biodiversity was destroying humanity’s future, Carlo Petrini, the founder of the global Slow Food Movement, said in Johannesburg on Friday. Petrini, who is Special Ambassador for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Zero Hunger for Europe campaign, is in South Africa until August 17 to meet the South African chapter of the Slow Food Movement. The movement’s “primary aim is to reduce global hunger through increasing local food production”.

Statistics SA speaks of a “food poverty line”, under which people cannot afford enough food for a minimum calorie intake. It reports that 21.7% of South Africans were living below this line in 2014, and that 37% had to sacrifice food to pay for things like transport and cellphone airtime. Since 2010 the South African chapter has focused on creating a network of gardens in African schools and villages so that people have access to “good, clean and fair” food. This means food that is nutritious, free of poisons and is sold at a price fair to consumer and farmer. “We have to stand alongside the farmers,” said Petrini. “The principal job we have to do in every corner of the world is to defend local products and cuisine. That is the main goal of Slow Food.”

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