Civil Society Makes its Voice Heard at Expo

Speaking at the People’s Expo on June 4, Slow Food International President Carlo Petrini told his audience: “We are living a paradox: good and healthy food is not a right for everyone, but only for rich people. This is because the so-called free market actually is not free at all, it can be compared to a chicken coop where foxes are left free to enter and slaughter”.


The People’s Expo is an international forum of civil society and peasant movements taking place at La Fabbrica del Vapore, in Milan, from June 3 – 5. “We know foxes, far too well,” said Petrini: “They do big business on the backs of humble, peasants, fishers and small-scale breeders. Local realities are under the thumb of free market, while they should be protected; not only because they feed a large proportion of the world’s population, but also because they are preserving biodiversity”.


The People’s Expo has brought together over 180 delegates of civil society and rural movements from more than 50 countries. During the event, Carlo Petrini met Elizabeth Mpofu, a farmer from Zimbabwe and the general coordinator of the peasant movement La Via Campesina.


“Peasants are the best researchers of our time,” said Mpofu. “The challenge that we have to win is to once again become owners of decisions regarding what and how to produce, without allowing others to do it for us. This is food sovereignty: defending indigenous seeds, knowledge and farming practices, as our ancestors have always done”.


This year, while the United Nations are setting the new Sustainable Development Goals and a new Global Agreement on Climate Change, the People’s Expo wants to seize the opportunity of the theme chosen by Expo 2015 to assert the voices of unrepresented people. The main purpose is to propose and illustrate best practices and alternative solutions put in place to cope with the global problems of access to food and natural resources.


At the end of the forum a final document – endorsed by the Italian NGOs and civil society associations, along with the 14 international peasant movements and networks who participated in People’s Expo – will be presented.


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