Good Food March starts in Munich

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

Unusual fragrances waft over the Odeonsplatz in Munich. All morning busy hands have been peeling and cutting – the vegetables having been donated by various organic market gardens and farmers. Also many of the vegetables were collected in and around Munich the day before - rejects from supermarkets because they didn’t look good enough to be sold. The action chef Wam Kat in his mobile kitchen “Fläming Kitchen” turns potatoes, lettuces and vegetables into a tasty meal that is handed out to guests free of charge on washable plastic plates. Bavarian Radio had publicized the campaign, and this encouraged many people to come along. The destination of the European Protest march is Brussels, and the protesters will converge on the city on 19 September 2012. (Picture: Launch event in Munich on 25.8.2012)
The campaign: with the slogan “The Plate not the Bin”, environmentally aware and nutrition-conscious groups across Europe called on people to join the Good Food March to Brussels. The starting time for the German contingent in this anti-GMO campaign was 15.00 in Munich on 25 August 2012. In different parts of Europe, people have been encouraged to travel by bike or tractor to converge on the European Parliament in Strasbourg and from there to continue to Brussels. At many places en route, activities have been planned – demonstrations, cooking events, visits to farmers or beekeepers - with the aim of focusing attention on non-industrial and sustainable agriculture. The people taking part in the campaign will demand that members of the European Parliament and the governments of the countries in the EU commit themselves to supporting social, sustainable and small-scale agriculture instead of agribusiness. (Picture: The Feldherrenhalle at Odeonsplatz in Munich)

At the launch in Germany took place on 25.8.2012 in Munich, the seats at the long beer tables - decorated with big heart-shaped potatoes (picture) – were quickly occupied. Nearly 150 people sat in the warm sunshine, had something to eat, enjoyed themselves and listened to the speeches and panel discussions. Dr. Rupert Ebner from Slow Food Germany explained that his association, that was founded 20 years ago to focus more attention on good food, advocated the production of food in keeping with natural principles and that, for this reason, it was essential to preserve non-industrial agriculture: a clear rejection of fast food and industrial animal-keeping.

Again and again, speakers criticized the huge waste of food. In the USA, food to the value of 165 billion dollars is thrown away every year. About 40 % of the food produced in Germany lands in the waste bin, while in other parts of the world people are starving. In Germany, many people buy too much and then let the food go bad in the fridge. The food trade accepts only perfect fruit and vegetables, and everything that doesn’t conform to the norm is rejected.

Francisco Mari from the Church Development Service (Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst) explains how excess in our country destroys markets in Africa. Our discerning company buyers nearly always take only chicken breast and thighs, and the rest of the bird is exported to Africa, where it is sold at such a low price that the indigenous farmers can’t sell the meat they produce. The same applies to the cereals market. In the face of American wheat, there is no hope for the African farmer with his home-grown millet.

An example of waste prevention: a bakery in Munich (the Hofpfisterei), that uses only organic grain, has a Happy Hour from 17.00, when its bakery goods are sold at cheaper prices. What they don’t sell is offered next day in the returns shop, and anything still not sold there goes to an organic farm for animal feed. Customers can’t expect the whole product range to be available throughout the day.

Despite all the serious topics, the atmosphere in Munich was upbeat. According to police estimates, 1,500 people turned up over the two hours, and shortly before 15.00 a good 50 of them set off for Strasbourg and Brussels. The last groups to be sent on their way were the cyclists and tractor drivers.

To give the “Good Food March” in Germany a send-off, Martin Häusling (pictured on the left in the EU Parliament), the spokesman for the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament and coordinator in the agriculture committee, said: “The Green Party in the European Parliament welcomes this campaign and calls on everyone to take part and support this action. This march is the biggest civil society action in the 50-year history of the Common Agricultural Policy!”

Regarding the organizers of the march, Häusling said: “These organizations represent in their various countries hundreds of thousands of consumers, environmentalists and farmers. They demand a different kind of agricultural policy and food production because industrial agriculture – this is now obvious – is failing to feed all the people of the world. And it’s not a success story for European farmers and consumers either.” The Green Party in the European Parliament is looking forward to welcoming the participants in the march at their destination in Brussels on 19 September. After an international Good Food Brunch in front of the European Parliament, there will be a conference from 15.00 titled “CAP Reform 2020 – An Opportunity for European Democracy” that is organized under the auspices of the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz (SPD) and will be attended by, among others, the Commissioner for Agriculture in the EU Dacian Ciolos, the President of Slow Food Carlo Petrini and participants in the Good Food March.

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