Food is essential to human well-being and connects people and communities. But concerns are growing about the ways that food systems and farming practices affect planetary health; ‘the health of human civilisation and the state of the natural systems on which it depends’.
Around the world, governments at all levels are taking action to address the climate and nature emergencies. They are setting their own climate goals and developing policies that account for the different parts of the food system such as health, farming, workers’ rights, environment, biodiversity and climate change. To be truly just, these policies must include the perspectives of farmers who are part of the solution but often not part of the conversation.
The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the importance of local food systems. Disruptions in existing food chains have forced some farmers to seek alternative outlets for their produce locally. Fears of disruptions to global trade and a growing sense of the precarity of human existence in the face of unpredictability have strengthened a growing urge to reconnect with the way food is produced.
This growing demand for increased connections between cities and farms requires trust between urban and rural actors in food systems: Both cities and farmers need a just transition to a future where food and farming is part of the solution and not part of the problem.
Creative and collaborative local solutions with cities and farmers working together can make the necessary change locally and can inspire transformation globally.
The Fork to Farm dialogues start from the assumption that both cities and farmers feel that food and farming can be done in ways that tackle the interconnected climate, nature and health emergencies we currently face, and can be the drivers of that change.