2nd Nyéléni Europe Forum for Food Sovereignty – the biggest ever convergence of Pan-European food sovereignty movements

Posted on Nov 8, 2016

2nd Nyéléni Europe Forum for Food Sovereignty took place from 26th – 30th October 2016 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The biggest European Forum for Food Sovereignty was held in the Expo Transylvania, which was just big enough for such a meeting.

A major accomplishment of this forum was the convergence of Eastern European and Central Asian organisations with their Western European counterparts. There was 1,000 participants on the forum from 42 countries. Participants came from Europe and also from Africa and Asia. There were present many different people who are part of food sovereignty, including small-scale farmers, fishers, pastoralists, consumers, urban gardeners, indigenous peoples, researchers, agricultural workers, environmentalists, human rights defenders and trade unionists. Participants gathered to cooperate and develop joint strategies on how to take back control of the farming and food system.

The Forum started with the Fair of delegations for participants to introduce and share experiences, ideas, lesion learned and present the situation of food sovereignty movement in their country. On the fair Institute presented book Integral Green Slovenia and Slovenian approaches towards food sovereignty with the help of integral economy model.

Meet so many people who work on their projects and present results of their work, from whole Europe, gives new momentum for work on projects. Five days of intensive discussions, sharing experiences, ideas and talking about measures for a common goal are invaluable experience.

At the same time there were more events taking place on the Forum and participants had to decide which topic they are interested in or in which field they want to be or are active. This has allowed the best possible transfer of experience, ideas and knowledge among the participants.

Discussions were held within the framework of the thematic axes:

  • Models of food production and consumption
  • Food distribution
  • The right to natural resources and commons
  • Work and social conditions in food and agricultural systems

We also talked about which policies we want to target with our actions at different levels and operations addressing them, in particular which policies are important for the movement and how to press on them with our activities at different levels and what principles of participation and inclusiveness should be taken into account.

The work took place in the groups, which dealt with one of the levels of policies:

  • Local level policies
  • National level policies
  • European Union policies
  • Global level policies

Every evening Open space took place where participants discuss about topics that were not included in the forum program. The talks were held about projects, campaigns, strategies, action plans with a view to strengthen the movement for food sovereignty in the fight against corporate industrial food systems.

With colleagues from former Yugoslav republics, working on food sovereignty, we share experiences about our work and have conversation about food sovereignty system in the former Yugoslavia. We also discussed establishing Nyeleni Yugoslavia forum to reconnect areas that were once already connected and food sovereign and to exchange views and ideas about food sovereignty.

Great emphasis of the Forum was on agroecology as science, which will be increasingly important for the development of agriculture in the future – back to nature. Agroecology is committed to radically local, inclusive and sustainable approach to agriculture. Cooperation in Cluj-Napoca has led to the creation of common food and agricultural plans, by promoting agro-ecological agricultural model.