FUTURE FOOD
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FUTURE FOOD

Sprinkling Regenerative Seeds All Around The Earth

Act boldly, innovate broadly, and implement equitably. These are the cornerstones around which World Earth Day, which the world has celebrated on April 22 for the past 52 years, revolves. A day that reminds us how “investing in our Planet” is a collective and urgent need, to bring sustainability and prosperity together.

In the last fifty years, the changes and advances that have marked the era of progress have left behind open scars, wounds that denote that in reality we were confusing prosperity with comfort, over-exploitation with real need, and quantity for quality.

In this dangerous game of progressive impoverishment and emptying out (individually, collectively, environmentally, culturally, and even economically), we have the opportunity to stop and reorder our needs and actions.

It is within moments of maximum difficulty, like the one we are living, that the greatest possibilities for rebirth are hidden.

We needed to restart from the essentials, and here came the painful lesson that two years of pandemic has inflicted.

We had forgotten the importance of universal human values: compassion, understanding, empathy, mutual aid, and reciprocity. The war that is hitting Ukraine, in its tragedy, is also awakening the beauty of human collaboration, the real one.

We have taken for granted that our actions and choices would never generate any consequences, and the advance of desertification, rising temperatures, loss of biodiversity, soil sterility are bringing us back to take care of the natural ecosystem around us, to live it directly, in order to really love and protect it.

Earth Day: Investing in our Planet to invest in our future

The challenges inherent in real regeneration are connected to so many players, often in opposition to each other, that at times it seems a Herculean task. Earth Day is an opportunity to pause and to take stock. It is a day to recognize how far we have come, to appreciate the global community of food heroes who are all working towards a better future together, and to be energized by new people just awakening to this cause.

In the last two years, the Future Food ecosystem lived Earth Day as a cornerstone of change and connection. Organizing a 24-hour virtual marathon to connect the whole globe, for East to West, collecting lessons on the regenerative power of food systems was our contribution to spread seeds of positivity, to connect the dots that comprise our global society.

A mission that would not have been possible without our partnership with FAO and without the 100 voices who joined this journey: indigenous peoples, entrepreneurs, scientists, journalists, young leaders, policymakers, and farmers all contributed through their presence, expertise, commitments, projects and actions to this marathon. A diversity that was beautifully reflected not only in approaches and solutions but also in the different languages spoken, just in 24 hours. Just as food, language is a crucial aspect of cultural identity that requires being respected and valorized as part of the regeneration process. (Explore the Food for Earth 2021 Booklet).

In fact, there cannot be a universal model of regeneration, the same, standardized approach to be exported and applied in any context, regardless of geographical, political, cultural, or territorial specificities.

For regeneration to be real and long-lasting, it requires active participation and engagement. This means that it needs to be shaped based on the people’s needs, mentalities, lifestyles, habits, and to be adapted to local territories and landscapes, to be respectful of their cultural and historical backgrounds.

This is why, creating specific models of regeneration rooted in local peculiarities, has led the Future Food ecosystem to expand geographically through its Living Labs.

Living Labs: developing experiential and experimental forms of integral regeneration

Future Food Living Labs are experimentation laboratories designed to empower People, protect the Planet, and enable Prosperity starting from the peculiarity of given areas and specific food culture, to develop customized models of regeneration.

Scuderia

Scuderia (Bologna, Italy): since 2018, directly from my hometown and heart of the Food Valley, the Scuderia Lab is conceived to combine and enrich food traditions with innovation. For this reason, it is located in the canteen of the University of Bologna, one of the most vibrant and frequented places by young minds and creatives.

At the end of January, the Scuderia Living Lab reopened with the appointments of “Food is a Conversation — special edition RegenerAction, as an occasion to both reconnect the local community and open the bridges towards new approaches and food heroes. This was the case of the Conversation that happened last January, when Bologna was populated by some custodians of the Mediterranean Diet:

Serena Cilento of the Nuovo Cilento Agricultural Cooperative — “Al Frantoio” and Edmondo Soffritti of the La Petrosa Farm, two pioneers of regenerative agriculture and leaders of the Rareche Natural Rural Market movement, Francesco Mazzi young entrepreneur of the Valbindola Agricultural Society, in a small town in Romagna (Tredozio) and Cesare Zanasi, Associate Professor at the Department of Agro-Food Sciences and Technologies of the University of Bologna who has been studying for years the “Eco-Regions” and development models based on regenerative agricultural practices. It was a wonderful meeting that opened the doors of inspiration, bringing concrete testimonies of success, to understand the needs, the approach, and the opportunities that the regenerative rural development model offers us today.

Kyobashi

The Kyobashi Living Lab (Yaesu, Tokyo, Japan) is located in one of the most futuristic megacities on the Planet, Tokyo, and equally is a place with a very strong and particular food culture. The Kyobashi neighborhood has been the center of food culture in Tokyo for over 300 years. For this reason, the Kyobashi Lab merges innovation, market validation, and the need to create sustainable cities, starting from restoring the relationship between food producers and consumers.

Education is the first step to embrace awareness and translate regenerative food systems. This is why in these weeks Tokyo has been pervaded by the magic of cooperative effort through the first FF Food and Climate Shaper Boot Camp — Japan Edition. A journey that began April 1 and will last six weeks to address, solve, share, and co-design regenerative farms, regenerative oceans, regenerative kitchens, and regenerative cities.

Food for climate league website

Food for Climate League

Around the world, people appear to share the same difficulty in understanding the real values behind food and eating: how food production can regenerate the landscape and the state of natural resources, the role of food as a powerful medicine, both for the body and for the mind, food as a lever of conviviality, connection, community building, food as a tool to transmit ancient knowledge, traditions, culture, food as a precious connector between generations.

Regardless of not having a physical Living Lab in the US, the Future Food mission is rooted in deep connection with the New Continent, starting from the power of food and food and climate literacy. Building together a world in which every eater is a climate hero, where people are empowered with nutritious and delicious foods, where new food and climate narratives are created to democratize sustainable eating, to cultivate a sense of community is behind the mission that we share together with Food for Climate League.

This aspect, shaped also by the uniqueness of the US lifestyle and eating habits, has also led us to take a step further. In recognition of Italy leading the UNESCO network of Mediterranean Communities this year, and given the need to strengthen bridges of dialogue and corridors of knowledge exchange, Steven Ritz, Future Food Institute, Mediterranean Diet Study Center “Angelo Vassallo,” and Campustore are now part of a global partnership to spread food literacy starting from schools.

Two schools, so geographically distant and seemingly very different, the Patroni School of Pollica (Italy, in representation of the Mediterranean principles) and the Community School 55 (right in the middle of one of the most difficult neighborhoods of New York City — Brox), are now joining forces to design cities of the future able to grow healthy communities, able to empower the role of individuals — especially youth, able to share knowledge and vision, through food and education.

This is the perfect exemplification of how much collaboration is crucial in building regenerative models, finding commonalities despite diversity to strengthen resilience, and share seeds of change.

Paideia Campus

The Paideia Campus (Pollica — Italy) grounds its roots in a small community (only 2,268 inhabitants in the winter) to prototype models of integral regeneration to be applicable for rural villages, to revive the rural lifestyle, supporting their needs, and overcoming the challenges that are typical of small villages and inland areas characterizing our beautiful territory. This Living Lab is the perfect representation of the historic and cultural roots at the core of the Italian interpretation of the Mediterranean Diet, the tangible and intangible heritage that in too many cases is conceived as a dormant resource, the sense of possibility in the necessity, through co-creation and co-ideation.

On the occasion of Earth Day and as part of the “Pollica 2050” project, the Municipality of Pollica, Future Food Institute, and the Pro Loco of Pollica are all part of a Design Challenge to create together a playroom to become the place of meetings, games, and growth. It is environments like these that today’s children, girls and boys need: an appropriate place to develop their identities and skills.

In the last weeks, the whole community has been involved in the first Community Hackathon, Hack the Village, transforming the physical “headquarters” of the Pollica Lab — the beautiful Princes Capano Castle — into a place where the community has gathered to find better services for the current problems of the rural territory of Pollica.

Regeneration — the call from Mother Earth — must be integral, integrated, ecological, and collective. It requires each of us to embrace a sense of responsibility — the antechamber of real possibility for social, cultural, territorial, and economical regeneration, through our diversities and peculiarities to achieve common prosperity and well-being.

Regeneration can only come through a change of the heart in the individual,” Henry Williamson

The Future Food Institute is an international ecosystem that believes climate change is at the end of your fork. By harnessing the power of its global ecosystem of partners, innovators, researchers, educators, and entrepreneurs, FFI aims to sustainably improve life on Earth through transformation of global food systems.

Through an integral ecological regeneration approach, FF trains the next generation of changemakers, empowers communities, and engages government and industry in actionable innovation, catalyzing progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Learn more at Futurefoodinstitute.org, and join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube.

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sara roversi

Don’t care to market-care to matter! With @ffoodinstitute from @paideiacampus towards #Pollica2050 through #IntegralEcology #ProsperityThinking #SystemicDesign