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Nurturing food system collaboration across Europe

News | Published  18 May 2023

Ahead of the international Extinction or Regeneration conference, to which Eating Better was a partner, we invited representatives from 7 European countries to share and learn from each other, nurture relationships and explore successes and challenges.

For the past few years Eating Better has played an active part in laying the foundations of a vibrant pan-European food movement led by Healthy Food Healthy Planet. We understand that shifting the current food system towards a system that is sustainable, just and fair, is a difficult task that can not be solved alone. This type of transformation requires collaboration across sectors, areas of experience and geographical boundaries.

The pre-conference event was held at the beautiful Omved Gardens in North London, which is a beacon of sustainable food growing, seed saving with its Seed Saving Network and a culinary hub.

“Our report Recipes for Success brought together our learnings from the past nine years but we found that there is much to learn from collaborations elsewhere in Europe. Working across silos and within national food cultures is critical for making progress towards a more healthy and sustainable food system. We were so excited to welcome our peer networks from across Europe to London to discuss some of the most critical opportunities for building a shared common narrative for change.” - Simon Billing, Executive Director, Eating Better

Building relationships and identifying potential areas for collaboration in a green and birdsong-filled setting was both insightful and inspiring. With a hopeful focus on the future of our food systems, getting people from different countries together gave us the opportunity to share ideas about how to reach underrepresented groups, how to work with subnational governments and how to build a common narrative to appeal to a wide audience from across the political spectrum. 

"The language we speak and the words we choose shapes our minds." -  Morgan Janowicz, Green REV Institute and Coordinator of Future Food 4 Climate Coalition, Poland

Despite the political context and policy in countries represented varying greatly, there are key points of progress in common. The strength of listening to others and thoughtful use of language came to the fore as the most important factors in engaging with different audiences.

"We asked small holders, migrant agricultural workers and rural communities led by women what their top priority was. They all said ‘listening to each other." - David Sanchez from the Confederation of Consumers and Users, Spain

Collaboration is vital to food system change and by learning from our neighbours, we can transform the system into one that works better for people, animals and the planet.

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