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Growing Together, Building Solidarity Through Food

Posted by Claudia Tormey on July 25, 2019 at 12:28 PM

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The Growing Together project, which aims to engage young people on the topic of food production, have been busy networking and training over the past few months. Here's a round-up of what they've been up to.

CAP - Let's Lift the Lid

In the lead up to the European elections the Growing Together project hosted a training on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in partnership with Foodture called 'CAP - Let's Lift the Lid'. The event featured a Fair Food Feast with all food sourced from local, sustainable farmers and a photo exhibition featuring the farmers who grew the food.

The purpose of the event was to inform citizens of factual information about the Common Agricultural Policy and learn ways for citizens to can engage in the shaping of the new CAP. The event began with a short presentation from CAP expert Míchaél O'Callaghann who outlined its current status. This followed with four roundtable discussions hosted by a farmer, Sinead Moran - Foodture, an activist, Nathalie - Foodture, a politician, Saoirse McHugh - Green Party, and an academic, Míchaél O'Callaghan. Attendees had the opportunity to join each table and learn about the struggles identified by each expert and discuss potential solutions and actions citizens can take themselves.

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Sustainable Food Film Screenings

As part of the Irish Environmental Network's sustainable food movie series in The Fumbally Stables, Growing Together hosted a screening of the film 'SEED - The Untold Story' with Young Friends of the Earth. YFoE member, Alanagh Temnanty, who attended the screening said; "It was actually really eye opening to hear from the people who are being effected by climate change right now because we will probably in the same situation with the growing climate crisis".

YFoE member Conor O'Brien spoke on on a panel about the work of YFOE after the movie was screened. The screening was complimented by a photo exhibition of farmers linked with Foodture. Growing Together have plans to duplicate this film series in the west of Ireland later in the summer. Watch this space!

Building Solidarity in Cyprus

In June, four members of YFOE Ireland travelled over to Cyprus for a training on food sovereignty and building solidarity with other young people from the ‘Growing Together’ partner countries, Austria, Malta, Denmark, Estonia and Cyprus.

The training was delivered by staff from La Via Campesina, the international movement of peasants, which focuses on topics including agroecology, land issues across Europe and how to engage local, national and international decision makers on issues relating to food sovereignty. YFOE member Cianna Spellman speaks of her experience of the training; “The YFOEE Cyprus training was not only an enriching learning experience but was also wonderful to see new scenery and meet like minded people. I would highly recommend training with YFoE to any new members or curious individuals”.

YFOE Ireland member, Martina Dubicka commented: “It was my first YFoE Europe event, so initially I was extremely overcome by the power of meeting like minded people from different parts of Europe. There was a great sense of union during the training, not only did we all get to the same level of understanding the issues discussed, but we also all left with the same desire to act in similar ways in our respective countries. Hearing members of La Via Campesina give first hand accounts of the struggle gave me so much insight into the problems of our food system, as a result I feel inspired to delve deeper into the realities of work and life on a farm in the future. The excellent standard of organisation added so much to the overall experience”.

Watch the below video for an insight to the Cyprus trip...

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Growing Together Farm Visit

Growing Together brought the Friends of the Earth Dublin and Belfast teams together to host a solidarity building farm residential at Ballymagort Old Mill in Newry Co. Down. The group of young people from both the Republic and the North were joined by two young farmers living on the border, as a way to build solidarity across the boarder in the face of Brexit and learn about the challenges being faced.

Activities included hiking, bee keeping, wool felting, story sharing, action planning, active hope and an ‘earth walk’ in the Mourne Mountains. The group also visted a local Camphill farm and hosted a public documentary screening and talks from sustainable farmers living in the north, south and on the border.

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YFoE Festival Roadshow

Young Friends of the Earth's Festival Roadshow, now in its second year, is in full swing. Thanks to the support of the Growing Together project this years tour is even bigger and better! The team have curated a programme of fun activities including food bingo, system change Jenga, carbon footprint limbo and the ever popular 'Guess the Veg' as well as panel discussions to engage festival goers on the topics of food sovereignty and biodiversity.

Already they have been to the Botanical Gardens Sustainable Living Festival, Vantastival, Body & Soul, and Knockanstockan and will be heading to All Together Now and the Global Green at Electric Picnic next. Keep an eye out for them!

Good Food Good Farming

Watch this space for Good Food Good Farming days of action. 2019 is a pivotal moment for the future of European policies on food and farming, as a new European Parliament was elected in May and as the CAP reform and other important reform processes are ongoing. We want to use this as a hook to draw attention to the food and farming system that European citizens really want. Europe’s food and farming system needs to be stirred up.

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