Welcome from the editor: slowing down to move forward

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AUTHOR: Stef Bottinelli
autumn in England

Welcome to the first edition of Food Matters Weekly and thank you for joining me this weekend.

Food Matters Weekly was born out of passion, curiosity and thirst for knowledge, and with it we aim to inform you, inspire you, share stories and hear about different points of view from experts from the world of food.

As I write this, COP26 is in full swing. As world leaders gather in Glasgow to discuss climate change and strive to find a solution to lower global CO2 emissions, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos does his bit and pledges $2bn (£1.5bn) to improve the global food system and restore landscape.

The world watches with hope, but also with criticism. In the firing line of COP26 detractors are the number of private jets taken by world leaders and event participants to travel to and from Scotland; Xi Jinping, the President of China – the world’s most polluting country – is absent from the UN Climate Change Conference. Russia, India and China have also abstained from signing the 80-country pact to cut methane emissions, and the latter has also been criticised for not doing enough to stay within the UN rising temperature cap of 1.5C. The menu offered to COP26 attendees has also come under scrutiny for featuring around 60% meat, despite the fact that animal farming makes up 18% of global annual emissions. But whilst climate change is undeniably worrying and it may seem that world leaders and organisations are not doing enough to tackle the problem, the number of young people dedicated to environmental issues who are asking for true change gives me hope.
Although climate change is, of course and unfortunately, nothing new, today’s youngsters are the much needed, loud voice of our planet, a new voice, yet one that is deeply rooted in the past.

In fact this week we take a journey back to the 80s to look to previous decades in order to learn how to live better in the present and the future.

Food writer and author Carol Wilson takes us to Italy, where The Slow Food Movement was founded to preserve local gastronomy traditions and to protest against the global industrialisation of food products.

At 71, organic dairy farmer and founding director of the Sustainable Food Trust Patrick Holden shows no sign of stopping. In his interview with Food Matters Live, the indefatigable former director of The Soil Association opens up about his early days growing up in England, moving to the United States and later coming back to the UK to study agriculture and learn to farm.

Time is a theme in the Plant-based food: ingredients of the past, the present and the future feature too.

With the plant-based food market growing exponentially and the need for a sustainable, alternative protein-based food system trending worldwide, it would be easy to believe that veganism is a post modern trend, but in reality, although not quite as we know it now, it has been around for a rather long time, and my prediction is that what we are seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg.

We might be living busier, faster lives, but moving forward also requires stillness, time to observe and understand and, occasionally, looking back.

As the leaves turn red and gold and fall off trees, temperatures dip and autumn sets in, November is ideal to stop and recharge. Let’s take time to breathe life in and think about the changes and choices us, as individuals, can make to improve this wonderful world we live in.

Wishing you a wonderful, slow weekend…

Stef

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