Barcelona’s Manifesto for Sustainable Food
Barcelona is the backbone of the Mediterranean diet, a food system rich in biodiversity, geographic variety and local food products. A region with a powerful and health conscious gastronomic tradition, as old as it is open to new and innovative ideas. Today it is facing the same crisis as the rest of the planet; and it is for this reason that we find ourselves here, within the framework of the world capital of sustainable food.
We, the people who prepare food for others, would like to let it be known that:
We humans need to make food for ourselves. Preparing food is a responsibility because eating well is, without doubt, a universal right and one which should be fulfilled everywhere, for everyone, every day. And if it is not so, it is a challenge for us all. Our environment provides us with the resources to make food. The overexploitation of these resources harms the environment, compromises the future and exacerbates the existing inequalities. Traditionally, the knowledge of how to make food was developed within the communities, adapting to different environments, necessities and circumstances. In recent years this method has changed to incorporate a more scientific approach along with technical design solutions. The world population has seen exponential growth, the majority of the population has moved to live in urban environments and food systems have become even more interdependent and globalized. The fundamental role of women in the creation and management of good, healthy and sustainable food has become invisible and undervalued. This depreciation is one of the causes of the current inequalities.
The whole process of food systems and strategies needs to be redirected. More research and democratized innovation is necessary and we need a systematic vision with effective, ethical governance. Above all it is necessary to remember that each ecosystem, each piece of land, each aquatic environment, each landscape, each local variety, each skill, each practice, each method, each preparation, each dish, each name in each language that is lost, is one more lost possibility to feed the world.
The people involved in food production, who transport, study, explain, legislate, manage, educate, cook or offer people food know better than anyone that everyone has to be able to decide what they eat. To achieve this, it is necessary to have the knowledge of what they need and also to have local people dedicated to growing and producing food in the fields, in the gardens, in the forests, at sea, in the mills, in the cooperatives, in the factories, in the markets, in the shops, in the restaurants, bars and inns and in each kitchen of every house, freely and voluntarily, diversely, with dignity, all while receiving the recognition and just reward they deserve.
And in order to ensure this is achieved, we are committed to:
Caring for the health and well-being of the people with whom we interact. Understanding and satisfying their needs with inclusive and stimulating options that reach all the neighbourhoods of each town and city to guarantee cohesion and life on the streets. Because eating well both prevents and cures. Because eating well is a social and cultural action that helps us to grow as people and citizens. And because sharing food is as important as enjoying it.
Working to weave and strengthen the resilience of our food systems. Systems which are rooted to the land, committed to its development, its biodiversity, its resources and its heritage. Valuing the produce that it gives us and those who produce them to contribute to the promotion of the local culture and economy and to the progress of the people who live there.
Being proactive in improving the environment. The way we carry out our daily activities, how we produce, how we transform, how we buy, how we cook, how we use energy resources and water is all very important due to the effect it has on nature. This is why we are implementing ways to be efficient, making sure we do no harm, minimizing waste and non-recyclable materials in all aspects of our lives.
Fighting food waste. Throwing away fresh, cooked, processed or stored food directly affects the environment due to the waste it causes, but, more importantly it shows a lack of solidarity with people who do not have access to decent food and to other living beings. That is why we avoid waste throughout all the food processes by planning and adjusting purchases, and adapting the portions to optimal consumption, analysing the reasons for leftover food and reusing it in creative ways.
Becoming enthusiastic consumers and promotors of the products that the land and sea gives us. The products we offer, the end result of our work, is a sign of our commitment. By buying locally and seasonally we can ensure quality, flavour and the maximum nutritional value. We want to know where the product comes from, how it was grown, raised, fished or made. We want to know that the rights of the people who made or picked it have been respected. We value biodiversity and fair trade. We avoid monoculture, products which are not respectful of animal welfare or the natural environment where they are grown. We take care of people’s health and that of the planet because we know it is one and the same thing – our planet.