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Five essential skills for collaboration

News | Published  24 May 2023

Eating Better together with Healthy Food Healthy Planet hosted a panel at the international Extinction or Regeneration conference with representatives from Italy, Spain, Poland to hear experiences of civil society collaboration across Europe.

The main aim of the panel discussion was to showcase the power of cross-sectoral collaboration in food system change and to dive deeper into how to navigate the complex journey of building and sustaining coalitions. While there is no silver bullet or operating manual to repair the food system, the panellists agreed on a number of guiding principles for successful collaboration.

Create safe spaces

Forge spaces where topics can be discussed openly and that provide an opportunity to listen to one another, build trust and acknowledge the strain of environmental, food and social justice activism in today's world.

Strive towards a just transition

At Eating Better, our alliance members include a range of sectors from those working on animal welfare, climate change, agriculture, environment, health and social justice, because we believe in a holistic approach to making the food system healthier and more sustainable. Matteo Barbato, Programme Officer at Italian funder Fondazione Cariplo, spoke to the need to include those working in food production in a just transition:

“We too often hear the narrative around the damage that farmers and farming do to the environment but we need to acknowledge that they are one of the most affected by the climate crisis.”

Foster a learning environment 

Look outside your bubble and take inspiration from food movements outside of your own country. Create opportunities to identify and share learning and practice - this is something we actively participated in before the conference at our event at Omved Gardens.

Join forces with other movements

Learn from and coordinate with other movements (for example, environmental, migrant justice) in order to work towards whole system change. David Sánchez, CEO of CECU Spain spoke to the need for a more holistic approach:

“We have to learn from each other and break this feeling of isolation when working towards shifting the food system. Connecting with movements from other realities is really helpful, it can feel empowering and build confidence to keep on fighting.”

Amplify and include more voices

In coalition building, it is imperative to include and amplify as many experiences and voices across all levels of the food system. We need to start being critical about who is at the table when making decisions that will impact the wider community. Speaking on the conference itself, Morgan Janowicz from Green Rev Institute highlighted:

“One thing that was missing from this conference was the voice of the youth. We are hearing from many experts but that is not enough. If we are talking about interconnected issues, why don’t we make the effort to include everyone in the conversation?”

Full videos from the conference including our panel discussion can be found here.
Eating Better was a proud partner of the international Extinction or Regeneration conference organised by our alliance member Compassion in World Farming.

Our report ‘Recipes of Success’ showcases national and local examples of collaborations, and gives insight into the types of decisions and challenges coalitions face throughout their lifespan. 

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