Interconnectedness: the Theme of the 2014 EAT Stockholm Forum

I just returned from Stockholm after attending the 2014 EAT Food Forum.  The main objective of the Forum is to generate new, integrated knowledge and insights and to spur innovation along the value chain towards healthier and more sustainable food and production practices. 

Participants from all over the world joined in the discussion, including video addresses from Prince Charles of United Kingdom and Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization.

The keynote speaker was former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who discussed his sustainability project in Africa.  He voiced his concern regarding the current trend of small farmers being thrown off their land, replaced by big mechanized farms which are destroying the rich top soil in the process.  Clinton’s Global Health Initiative is actively working in Malawi to support small farmers who can eventually become agents of change to other farmers.  

One key message that the former president  left with us was that interdependence in the 21st century will lead to greater prosperity & peace.  The core task at hand is about how we define our interdependence in positive terms to give us positive outcomes.

Another memorable speaker was Professor Tim Lang from the Center for Food Policy at City University in London.  He said that our food system is in crisis, citing a mismatch between bodies, environment, supply chain, and culture. A solution will involve multiple stakeholders.  Lang stated that one key aspect for progress is to understand the consumers—what motivates them to change?  His view is that food costs need to be cheaper in  developing countries and more expensive within more developed countries.  He further suggested that the world needs ‘Sustainable Dietary Guides’ that address not only human health, but also the health of the planet, simultaneously.

Overall, I left the conference feeling joyful, despite the enormous challenges ahead in achieving our shared goals.  Knowing that there are so many leaders around the world who are like-minded is reassuring that change can happen!


Top Photo Credit: EAT Food Forum


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