Initiatives to support local farmers spring all over Latin America

The Slow Food network across the globe continues to develop initiatives to continue promoting good, clean, and fair food for all, and more than ever bring attention and support to local farmers and producers working daily against the modern current of industrialized food.

In Latin America we find dozens of ideas sprouting as the quarantines set in place and local markets close, and farmers struggle to sell their food.

In Mexico, the Earth Markets in Toluca and Yucatán, contacted their fan base and promptly set up a new distribution system to continue supporting the producers by developing a new strategy of distribution through delivery.  “Food production doesn’t stop, support your local farmers, in this time of quarantine they continue to harvest good, clean, fair food for our families’ health,” is the message from Slow Food Toluca, while @slowfoodyucatan tells his customers, “you don’t need to go out, we come to you!” encouraging civility while promoting the work of the farmers and producers who rely on the sales. They created a catalogue of all the products customers can purchase for delivery, and began a social media campaign promoting their local food producers and their efforts, and the ease of their delivery services.Similarly in Chile Slow Food Coquimbo saw the need to continue connecting farmers and customers creating a food basket with local products for easy pick up or delivery. And at Slow Food Uruguay they share with us that they are developing a database that has the purpose of linking consumers with organic and agro-ecological producers throughout the Uruguayan territory as well as artisanal processors of family production. “The goal is to provide the information necessary for consumers to access locally produced good, clean, fair and healthy food. Enrollment is also encouraged for all interested professionals who are involved in any part of the food production chain.”

Finca del Medio, photo: Leidy Casimiro

In Cuba, multiple ideas are springing to help the community develop resilience and food sovereignty. The Frutas del Caney community has developed training seminars to encourage organic cultivation in courtyards, on balconies and in small spaces, and has even created vertical gardens using recycled plastic bottles. Other training courses focus on preservation techniques for food so people can stock their pantries with reserves, and to cope more easily with quarantine. Thanks to these preservation techniques, lots of people are now able to donate their preserved foods to those who don’t have any. “The Slow Food community is calling on the importance of traditional knowledge on how to make the best use of local food resources, encouraging people to plant different types of products in the home.” 

Slow Food Peru tackled the quarantine with a campaign about sensible shopping, purchasing local food, supporting farmers, and staying away from food waste; a way to raise awareness of the need to support one another as a community, rather than create more chaos and confusion.

In Brazil, Slow Food joined a group of 80 civil entities from all regions to appeal for the right of health and food for the Brazilian population to be respected, protected, and guaranteed. The joint document presents a series of proposals to combat hunger for the most vulnerable populations.

The organizations warn of the arrival of the new coronavirus at a time of economic stagnation, dismantling of health and social protections systems and accelerated increase in extreme poverty. The text also highlights the communities – women, Afro-Brazilians, indigenous peoples, and those living in favela and peripheral regions- who will feel the hardest impacts of this period.

“The pandemic also reveals the urgency of exits that put life and human dignity at the center of decisions and public policies, as a human rights approach.”

Inspired by several incredible initiatives and also several demands for support or information on where/how to find the food Slow Food defends, the Slow Food Youth Network Brazil (SFYN Brazil) came up with a collaborative platform to systematize and make public the different initiatives developed by the network throughout the country. Family farmers, artisan producers, restaurants, solidarity initiatives, and Slow Food actions are able to log on an interactive map to facilitate access to healthy food and support those in need. The aim was to facilitate connections between those who produce and those who consume, guaranteeing the sell for the small scale producers, and the access to good, clean, and fair food for the consumers. The map was launched 3rd of April and, within three days, had more than 400 initiatives registrations from all Brazilian states, over 2700 visits, and are receiving support from several small farmers organizations to Brazilian celebrity chefs and academic research groups.

We will continue sharing the initiatives from our network as this pandemic continues to shed light on the issues in our food system, the same ones Slow Food has fought to change for the past 30 years.

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