Despite being virtual this year, World Food Day 2020 has been a timely reminder that food connects us all and has the power to build back better for climate, agriculture, food security, livelihoods, equity & nutrition.
We have a long way to go but diverse dialogues as seen during the #VoicesofFoodSystems 24h Global Relay Conversation – linking farmers, business, youth leaders, Heads of State and chefs – are key as we approach next year’s 2021 UN Food Systems Summit!
Those 24h have shown us what the summit will be all about: people! Only through strong partnerships can we achieve a food systems transformation and #GoodFood4All. It was great to see so many people take part: 2.5 million were reached directly with the #VoicesofFoodSystems campaign.
Below is a summary of each block, including some highlights of some of our favourite events from the 24h Global Relay Conversation. The whole event can be found on the UN Food Systems Summit YouTube channel here!
From NCDs in the Pacific Islands talking to the importance of 'blue food' (food from the ocean) for its role in nourishing billions of people, playing a major role in food security worldwide, and providing jobs & livelihoods. From dairy farmers in India to pioneering food tech in China, this dynamic discussion dove into the challenges and opportunities of our local food systems, and who we need to bring to the table to see transformative change.
Session 2: Good food for all, SDG2 Advocacy Hub
Questioning 'What does good food mean to you?' and showcasing what a few initiatives are doing to transform food systems to deliver Good Food For All, this hour highlighted that food is also about culture, it is an act of love and essential for progress. To demonstrate the joy good food brings Chef Peggy Chan invited Sandro Demaio into her kitchen (virtually) to create her tonic pho noodle soup.
Check out block 1 here:
With discussions on how to create climate-resilient agriculture to boost a green recovery from COVID-19 & build back better, to building partnerships for actionable change, Block 2 reminded us of the importance of hearing a diversity of voices; including youth, rural women, smallholder famers, innovators and indigenous farmers.
Session 8: Strengthening food systems from farm to fork, Future Food Institute
This session discussed the importance of building partnerships and collaboration to create lasting and sustainable change for better food systems for everyone involved: from farm to fork.
Check out Block 2 here:
Amazing innovations are taking place throughout Africa & the UAE to adapt to the current and future challenges facing food systems. This block presented the opportunities that systematic change presents for livelihoods & ensuring #GoodFood4All. From virtual tours of CGIAR's seed banks & research labs, to learning of AGRF's investment in agriculture to improve productivity and opportunities of rural communities, to new food innovations in the UAE.
Session 11: What’s on your plate? The journey of food, African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF)
Ever wondered what it takes to bring food to your plate? This session brought together actors in the agri-food supply chain from researchers, producers, aggregators, processors, retailers, financiers, policymakers, and Chefs, represented by Mokgadi Itsweng, to discuss the complexities and nuances in food systems and what their calls to action are for better livelihoods, reducing the impact on the environment, as well as improved nutrition and health for consumers.
Check out Block 3 here:
Tuning into Rome and FAO's headquarters for their official celebrations of #WorldFoodDay 2020 on their 75th birthday, this block included a series of inspiring speeches from the FAO Director General QU Dongyu, Pope Francis, the President of Italy and the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres. This block also featured inspiring voices from youth activists on improving food systems for the health of our planet and improving nutrition.
Session 14: FAO Opening Ceremony, FAO
Reflecting on FAO’s history and learnings as an outlook of how we as an international community can work towards achieving zero hunger and ensure #GoodFood4All was presented. As said by Pope Francis: “We're all responsible to work towards a food systems transformation, including safeguarding natural resources, reducing waste and ending conflicts.”
Check out block 4 here:
Good food begins with farmers: this block included the voices of three farmers from around the world, showcasing their work to strengthen and transform food systems. Also hearing from those who champion diverse and ancient ingredients for our diets, health for us and the planet, and to strengthen food security.
Session 17:Ask a farmer, Farming First
This session had farmers from North America, Africa and Asia talk about the challenges they face and the ways they constantly innovating to put food on our tables every day as sustainably as possible. Joined by experts who work with farmers, we also see how data and intelligence, access to finance and farmer training provide opportunities for farmers to improve productivity and create stronger livelihoods for themselves.
Check out block 5 here:
The Global Relay Conversation ended with 4 great sessions presenting a wealth of opportunities and inspiration to transform our food systems for the better. Featuring videos on what a circular economy entails, to stories of women farmers, to a panel of chefs from across the world, highlighting the important role they play to be food system heroes in driving change towards achieving the #GlobalGoals & #GoodFood4All.
Session 22: Growing a circular food economy, Arrell Food Institute
Showcasing new research into how 'hexanal' reduces the number of apples wasted and an insight into what Canada is doing for food security, this session also included Chef Suzanne Barr cooking up a feast of a fish curry. Using a local, affordable fish that supports the local economy, but bringing in a touch of her roots with some innovative flavour combinations, Chef Suzanne displays that food is more than just nutrients, its also an act of love, representation of culture and history.
Session 24: Revolutionary recipes – the chefs & farmers driving change to our food systems, Sunnylands
Moderated by Mitchell Davis from the James Beard Foundation, this last session in the 24h Relay Conversation featured a panel of chefs, including from the Chefs’ Manifesto, highlighting the important role they play in raising awareness and driving change on sustainability and ensuring Good Food For All in their kitchens. Chefs in the session included Chefs Mary Sue Milliken, Andrew Zimmern, Jondo Lopez, Alejandra Schrader, Pierre Thiam and Natalia Restrepo.
Check out block 6 here:
While 16 October marks World Food Day, everyday we should celebrate our Food System Heroes. Behind our food, there is always someone who produced, planted, harvested, fished, transported and cooked it. This year has highlighted the challenges they face and the injustices that need to change. Never has there been a more urgent case or better opportunity to transform our food systems and the United Nations Food Systems Summit, culminating in 2021, needs to hear everyone voices to ensure our future food systems are equitable, sustainable and ensure good food for all.
To find out more how you can get involved in the UN Food Systems Summit, follow this link.