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Experts concerned food is off the menu at COP26

With less than 40 days until COP26, Patrick Holden, and Chantelle Wei-Ying Clement, Deputy Director at IPES Food, have voiced concerns that food needs a bigger platform if the summit is to have impact.  

Food Talks

Picture: Food Talks

Published: 28 Sep 2021

At the online #FoodTalks event, held on 23 September, Chantelle explained 

We’re not just facing a climate crisis, we are facing a biodiversity crisis, a health crisis and a social crisis, and all these things are closely interlinked. We know that food systems are a large part of the problem, but that they can also be a large part of the solution.

She went further, saying food was noticeably absent from COP, highlighting how this ‘business as usual’ approach will inhibit our capacity to curb climate change. She shared her vision of a good COP26, where food and climate change are acknowledged with space given for real discussion and to address this topic’s complexity

Patrick Holden, organic farmer and founder of the Sustainable Food Trust also stressed the importance of key organisations coming together to embrace complexity. He presented the good COP of his imagination, a COP known for food where international leaders recognise the power of farming and food. 

Whilst Chantelle recognised agroecological farming as having huge potential for food systems, a good COP for Patrick would include a commitment to enable farmers to be more profitable if they switched to more sustainable farming systems. But to do that, he believes we need a common way to record sustainability of these systems across the world and the Sustainable Food Trust is developing a framework for this purpose, the Global Farm Metric

Although this year’s COP looks like it will come up short for food and farming, Patrick and Chantelle both recognize the power of the people in raising the profile of food as part of the event. We can still make some noise about food in any of our communications around COP and continue to do the work we’re doing to make a difference. 

Head to the Food Ethics Council for a summary of the event by guest blogger Jim Manson 

#FoodTalks is brought to you by a partnership of the Food Ethics Council, Impact Hub Kings Cross, Organico, and London Food Link, part of Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming.


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