SPECIAL EVENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
29th September 2015, European Parliament Esplanade, Brussels — Yes, there is such a thing as a free lunch – and on 29th September 2015 a coalition of NGOs and MEPs are offering just that.
The Free Lunch is a culinary, cultural and political public event co-organised by Humane Society International, Compassion in World Farming, Food for Life Global, Beyond GM and the European Parliament’s Sustainable Food Systems Group.
The organisers will serve up to 1000 free lunches to Members of the European Parliament, Parliamentary staff and visitors, European Commission officials and members of the public. Additional food prepared during the event will be donated to the refugees camped at the Maximilian Park in Brussels.
Food for thought
This lunch – which will be made from surplus or aesthetically imperfect vegetables – is free of artificial additives and GMOs, does not contain animal products and will free up waste by using food that would otherwise be thrown away.
The event will highlight that fact that current EU food system – indeed the global food system – produces unacceptable quantities of food waste and that our consumption habits, in particular our overconsumption of animal-derived foods, causes huge quantities of resource loss and environmental damage, encourages large GMO monocultures of maize and soya, not to mention causing untold and unnecessary suffering for animals and an increase in the risk of food-related non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease, in humans.
The need for change
The lunch will serve as an example of the food that is endorsed by the organisers: ecological, ethical, healthy, safe, affordable and tasty. The organisers will distribute informational materials on healthy and sustainable food and be joined by a range of expert speakers.
The event will also highlight a number of political asks, including calls for the European Commission to:
- produce a holistic strategy towards a sustainable European food and farming system, after the disappointing withdrawal of the Communication on Building a Sustainable European Food System.
- develop guidelines on what constitutes a healthy and sustainable diet, including the need to reduce consumption of animal-derived foods for health, environmental and animal welfare. To be encouraged for adoption at Member State level.
- include reduction of animal-derived foods in the revised Green Public Procurement guidelines.
- introduce an EU target on the reduction of animal-derived foods by 30 percent by 2030.
- introduce an EU target that, by 2030, 100 percent of children should have received food and nutrition education, including on the benefits of plant-based eating, by the time they have completed primary school.
- develop promotional measures for increased consumption of plant-based foods.
Fact sheets: A series of downloadable fact sheets covering Animal Welfare, GMOs, Food Waste and Health are available online at www.beyond-gm.org/good-food
Food for Life Global – European Office (firstname.lastname@example.org), tel: +32 485 396816
Sustainable Food Systems Group – Bart Staes’ office: Angelique Vandekerckhove (email@example.com), tel: 0032 496 056008; Sirpa Pietikäinen’s office: Aino Valtanen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
QUOTES FROM THE ORGANISERS
“Both EU policymakers and citizens need to start facing up to the rather inconvenient truth that our current levels of meat consumption are completely unsustainable. For the sake of animal welfare, the environment and our own health and well-being, it is essential that we do not delay in taking steps to moderate our consumption of animal products. The Free Lunch is not only an opportunity to promote the pleasures of plant-based foods, but to also to urge the European Commission to develop a meaningful strategy towards achieving a sustainable food and farming system in the EU.”
– Dr Joanna Swabe, Executive Director, Humane Society International/Europe
“At an age of unprecedented progress we produce more than enough to feed the world. We ought to seize this opportunity and make responsible choices. Healthy, ethical and sustainable diets are a must. The Free Lunch event, taking place on the door step of Europe’s representatives, aims to showcase how the choices we make will benefit people, animals and the planet. The message to the EU institutions is that plant-based foods are part of a sustainable future and we should seize every opportunity to promote them through the personal choices we make in addition to legislative measures.”
– Olga Kikou, European Affairs Manager, Compassion in World Farming
“In a world that is overly abundant with fruits, vegetables and grains, there is absolutely no reason for hunger to exist, other than greed. The resources of the world are not be equally shared and so Food for Life Global’s sole mission is to create a sense of unity and equality in the world so that no one goes hungry. We do this in practice and precept. The people of the developed countries are becoming more aware of the link between animal agribusiness and climate change, the next step in this evolution is seeing the link between animal agribusiness and world hunger. The current model of feeding over 50% of world grains to animals for food is inefficient and unsustainable.”
– Paul Rodney Turner, Executive Director, Food for Life Global
“It is so inspiring to work alongside other committed NGOs and MEPs to highlight the terrible waste that runs through the industrial food system. This waste extends beyond just w