Dwindling resources, global warming and growing social inequality: COVID-19 is not the cause but the consequence of a crisis. What sounds like a bold thesis is not hard to see in our current food systems. The overproduction of food and feed is depleting our natural resources such as water, fertile soil, forests and genetic diversity. Intensive agriculture is a key driver of global warming. Extreme weather events such as storms or droughts are becoming more frequent. Habitats of plants, animals and humans are being destroyed, so that diseases are spreading in confined living spaces and genetically monotonous mass production areas. Those who suffer most are usually the people who already had the fewest resources and the least say in the matter.
COVID-19 shines a spotlight on the weaknesses of current food systems and powerfully illustrates the profound change we must strive for. In the wake-up call to “Build Back Better Food Systems” is the demand for low-emission, ecological and socially just food systems. Away from overproduction, mass consumption and growing poverty.
SWISSAID is discussing what such a transformation could look like together with scientists, politicians and representatives of civil society. In three webinars on the topics of “Climate change, pandemics and our food”, “A silent extinction – genetic diversity at risk” and “Local and international markets”, solution approaches and paths towards a more sustainable food system will be identified by way of example.
In a specially convened conference in summer 2021, these solutions from the webinars will be critically reviewed by an expert panel of women farmers from Switzerland and the Global South. In this way, the balance of power is reversed, at least in this case: women farmers, which globally are key players in food production, act as experts and are given a platform for their valuable experiences and inputs. In this way, the main stakeholders get the last word.