Relais & Châteaux supports the call for the right to eat right to fight the threat to food. Join us and sign the petition!
Today we are experiencing a real food gap.
Whereas a privileged fringe of the population has access to high-quality products and is aware of how to eat properly, most citizens see their choices dictated to them by the big supermarkets. While household revenue and social class go a long way to explaining this gap, it is also deeply cultural. It is linked to a certain idea of the role of food in life, to a culture of taste that is developed from childhood, to know-how that is passed down or learned, to everyday eating that is fast, tasty and healthy.
There is another gap, one that separates the agricultural world from consumers. The large-scale industrialization of French agriculture has led to the following paradox: most farmers, forced to engage in intensive farming, do not provide food for their fellow citizens. The race for productivity, exports and the lowest prices has resulted in the destruction of subsistence agriculture in a number of countries. It is unacceptable that our children and grandchildren will not be able to enjoy the quality and diversity of food that still exists today, albeit precariously. It is unacceptable that our food and its modes of production are carcinogenic and the source of illnesses. Food should bring us health and well-being. It is unacceptable that polluted land is the heritage we will leave for future generations. Just as so many animal species are going extinct, so too are thousands of varieties of fruits, vegetables and fish progressively disappearing from our menus.
We cannot be resigned to homogenized eating, where abundance consists only of an insipid uniformity that is harmful to our health. Farming, the environment, health, the economy, culture, education: all the pillars of our society are affected by this threat to food.
This is not a question of rich or poor,
Nor is it a matter of regional or national heritage. The stakes here go beyond borders and affect everyone every day, citizens, producers and consumers alike. To fight these increasing threats, access to good food should not be a privilege but rather an inalienable right that is not linked to revenue. No citizen should be deprived of this right for economic, social or cultural reasons. Unless we act, the majority of farmers and stockbreeders will soon become little more than simple workers at the behest of distant multinationals with no connection to the land. This scourge has an impact on our public and private spheres, whether we eat at home, in the cafeteria or at restaurants.
With this opinion piece, we are demanding the right to eat right for all citizens. This is not a luxury. Nor is it utopia. It is both possible and necessary to implement concrete actions to promote food that is tasty and healthy, as well as an agricultural model that is sustainable for its producers and consumers, for people and for the Earth. Many studies have shown that small-scale agriculture that limits chemical inputs, uses hardy seeds and is based on agro-ecological principles rather than high productivity ones can feed a growing population, and can do so with better quality products, all the while reducing the environmental impact of farming and health hazards for everyone. It is necessary to teach proper eating in public schools. This should be done within the curriculum and schools’ nutrition programs.
This declaration is also a call to politicians, especially to candidates for the upcoming French presidential election, which will take place in May 2017. We are asking them to prioritize this question. We are asking them to take stock of the food threat that lies in wait for us. We are asking them to respond to this issue with something other than trivial or purely symbolic gestures. Presidential candidates must make this question an essential part of their platforms and take action in the fields of agriculture, food, cooking and education in order to support and develop the right of all to eat right. This right goes hand in hand with a more balanced and equitable diet, agriculture that is more respectful of people and nature and, more generally, best practices on the part of citizens. It is imperative to immediately mobilize and act, so that future generations can eat and live better tomorrow than today.
Sign the call! (in french)