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Food and lifestyle. How new trends such as home production and the quest for excellence define who we are

Lifestyle / -

immagine lifestyle 19 ottobre

Respect for the Earth and rediscovering quality foods. These are some of the new habits identified and explored during the Universal Exhibition in Milan and which point to a growing awareness of the Earth among people.

Anthropologists have been saying it for a while. Eating, in addition to being a physical necessity, has an unquestionable cultural and ethical value. Our food preferences, but also the way we choose food and keep it without wasting it, tells a lot about who we are and the values we represent. To the point that in supermarkets we choose the foods which inspire us most, not just based on how we imagine that they will fill our bodies and satisfy our palates, but particularly on how they can confirm our deepest identity.
 
Choose, produce, reduce and recycle. The new verbs for those who are #FoodConscious
From raw food diets to macrobiotic, fashionable food habits are many and while vegans are becoming trendy in a number of European countries, the reducetarian movement is still almost unknown outside the borders of the United States where it was launched in 2014. There is an increasing desire to home grow food in Europe and across the ocean, and praise of the Mediterranean diet and zero km or farm to fork food, as well as the desire of so many city-dwellers to start their own family vegetable plot and free themselves, even in towns, from the grip of large-scale retailers. The number of people choosing to buy high quality food, ethically grown and produced, i.e. foods which respect the environment and its workers, but also the passion for street food and the awareness of people that they can contribute, through little daily practices such as implementing certain anti-waste actions, or even merely by separating domestic trash properly, to taking care of Planet Earth.  
 
A wealth of opinions, experience and strategies for eating well and feeling in shape
Expo Milano 2015 has not been merely an outstanding backdrop for a series of high-level talks involving world-famous scientists, farmers, doctors and politicians for a full six months, but also the prestigious setting where hundreds of sports, fashion, showbiz and music personalities have revealed their points of view and their personal experience in taking care of themselves and the Earth. The opinions of nutritionist Giorgio Calabrese, epidemiologist Franco Berrino and of the chef-scientist Marco Bianchi were heard, and who each had their say on everything relating to healthy eating, while Lisa Casali, blogger and presenter of the TV program The Cooking Show, was challenged on strategies to reduce family food waste. There were a number of contributions from the music world, with interviews with Roberto Vecchioni, Cristina D’Avena, Saturnino Celani and from the sporting world with the athletes Fiona May, Massimiliano Rosolino, Bebe Vio, Giusy Versace, Maurizia Cacciatori and the most popular soccer players of the moment. Finally, we cannot forget the contribution of the famous designer and Expo Milano 2015 Ambassador Elio Fiorucci, who died in July, but had long been sensitive to environmental issues and animal rights, which led him to opt for a vegetarian diet during the latter years of his life, so as to minimize his footprint on the Planet.
 

Food for everyone, even for those who produce it

Economy / -

Andrea Nicolello Rossi, presidente di Fairtrade Italia

Small farms make a huge contribution to feeding the world, but often suffer from hunger. Could this paradox also include Italy? We spoke with the president of Fairtrade Italia.

The next product line of fair trade could well come from Italy and thereby become the first example of local Fair Trade. Fueled by the crisis, in fact, issues such as decent working conditions, fair price, sustainability in supply chains have become part of the 'home territory' and no longer belong only to the southern part of the world. Quite the opposite. In a strange reversal of roles, India, Brazil, South Africa and Kenya have started to consume (and not just produce) certified foods. In the past year, in fact, in these countries there is a part of society, no matter how tough things get, that prefer (and can afford) ethical supply chains; in other words, those that can provide better living and working conditions for producers. Has the world been turned upside down? Not really. But certainly things are changing very rapidly. We spoke with the president of Fairtrade Italia, Andrea Nicolello Rossi..

Your organization just turned 20. Can you sum up the road you have taken so far?
Twenty years ago, the challenge was to make fair trade products accessible, available and different. Did we succeed? The numbers say so. Today, Fairtrade International has a turnover of €5.5 billion (up 15% on 2012), involving 1.4 million people and 74 producer countries. There are now 120 countries that sell our products, and not just food, but also cotton, craft products, and so on.

What was the highlight of the past 20 years?
Without doubt, it was the change in our company status two years ago. For the first time ever, we decided that 50% of the board of directors be made up of representatives of producers, who now sit alongside the distributors. By assuming responsibility in equal measure is of great significance. For the first time, an historic producer of Santo Domingo, Marike De Pena, has taken on the role of president.

At Expo Milano 2015 you will be present as a Civil Society Participant in the Cocoa Cluster. Why did you choose this product?
It seemed like an interesting way to combine the concept of 'goodness' on two levels – ethics and taste – and then it is a product that really appeals to the general public. Of course we will give space to all food certificates, which will also be displayed under the Solidal brand, in the supermarket of the future, and merchandised by Coop Italia in the Future Food District.

Which issues do you wish to stress with visitors to the Universal Exposition?
The initial question that Expo Milano 2015 raises – Is it possible to assure food that is good, healthy, sufficient and sustainable to mankind? – begs a further question: Can we ensure that the food is fair for those who produce it?
 
In fact we see a paradox: 70% of the world's food is produced by 500 million small farms, but of the people managing them, half have nothing to eat and are trapped in a state of poverty, worsened by decades of price volatility, a lack of resources to invest, global inflationary pressures and the negative effects of climate change: an economic hourglass that is squeezing farmers. We want to bring this situation to light and share details of the alternatives offered by Fairtrade.

Today there are many companies, both Italian and foreign, that seem to have taken up your challenge. How do you support them?
Ever since we set up our company, we have always made ourselves available in developing partnerships with the world of profit. To help large groups to apply the criteria of fair trade in their supply chain, we introduced an innovative commercial program, called Fairtrade Sourcing Program (FSP) in 2014. It is a program that allows companies to support, through our network, organizations in Asia, Africa and Latin America that produce cocoa, sugar and cotton. With supply programs for certified raw materials, we support companies in developing a sustainability strategy that involves buying increasing amounts of Fairtrade raw materials.

What are the numbers and the prospects of Fairtrade in Italy?
In Italy, in 2013, we achieved a sales turnover of 76.3 million euro, with 130 Italian licensed companies and more than 5,000 representative stores. And, paradoxically, during the most acute period of crisis, sales increased by 16.7 percent vs. 2012. It is a sign of the growing tendency of Italians to consume less, but better. And the proof is the fact that where our label is organic, the combination works particularly well.
 

José Graziano da Silva. Support, collectiveness and sustainability are the three key points of the FAO for Expo Milano 2015

Sustainability / -

The "proud" support given by The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to Italy and Milan. The collective dimension of the Universal Exposition, the importance of the year 2015, and going further than the Millennium Goals of reducing hunger, towards sustainability. These were the three points touched upon by José Graziano da Silva, Director of the FAO, during his speech at 'The Expo of Ideas, the first stage for the Charter of Milan.

An opportunity to promote a planet that is sustainable. That's what Expo Milano 2015 will be according to José Graziano da Silva. And it’s a reasoned and authoritative opinion, as Graziano Da Silva, a Brazilian agronomist, for thirty years has dealt with access to food, rural development and agriculture. Now, he’s tackling these issues as Director of the FAO.

The presence of the FAO, the collective dimension, and 2015
First, he noted with pride that "many members of the FAO are present at many of the group tables that will draft the Charter of Milan”, during the event held at Hangar Bicocca on February 7, “and we are proud, together with the United Nations, to give our support to Italy and to the many other countries that are present here today".

Second, "Expo Milano 2015 is a universal exposition, it doesn’t only concern Italy, it doesn’t only concern food producers. It’s a collective voice of all the countries, to address global issues."

And finally, concluded Graziano Da Silva, 2015 is an important year, as it is the year of the Millennium Development Goals and "Milan will be the place where all of us will talk about the transition from the Millennium Goals to those of future sustainability. Expo Milano 2015 will allow discussion on this topic to all who come and visit the over 140 cutting-edge pavilions."

Over a million people are already #FoodConscious. What about you?

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