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News > Culture

FAO: Chefs, Farmers Talk Agricultural Innovation, Cooking for Sustainable Development

  • Chefs and family farmers talk about how to improve the food system, in a FAO symposium

    Chefs and family farmers talk about how to improve the food system, in a FAO symposium | Photo: EFE

Published 22 November 2018

During an FAO symposium, chefs and family farmers discuss different strategies to improve the world's agricultural system in order to achieve a sustainable development.

During an international symposium on agricultural innovation for family farmers, chefs and  farmers met to discuss different strategies to improve the world's agricultural system in order to achieve a sustainable development.

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Awakening the curiosity of diners to the origin of traditional products is the basis of the work of four international chefs who shared their secrets with family farmers in Rome. These chefs aim to change commensals' standing points in which food is seen. This is what was discussed during the talk: "What’s cooking? A conversation between chefs and family farmers."

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) organized "The International Symposium on Agricultural Innovation for Family Farmers: Unlocking the potential of agricultural innovation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals," at its headquarters in Rome, Italy, between Nov. 21 and 23, 2018. 

According to the organization, "innovation is the central driving force which will transform food systems, lift family farmers out of poverty and help the world to achieve food security, sustainable agriculture and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."

The conversation between family farmers and chefs aimed to "discuss what innovation in agriculture means to them and how they work together to achieve Zero Hunger." The participants were: Andrea Gaudenzi from Frantoio Gaudenzi, an Italian family-owned olive oil company; Leire Arana form Valle Salado de Añana, a salt valley recognized by the FAO as an important system in the world's agricultural heritage; Indian Chef Anahita N. Dhondy; Brazilian Chef Bela Gil; Ghanan Chef Elijah A. Addo; and Finnish Chef Kim Palhus.


The four chefs gave thanks for the opportunity to be included in these kinds of symposia on "innovations" from the Food and Agriculture Organzation of the United Nations (FAO) since this profession has an important position to play in the food system, allowing the connection "between the farmers and the consumers through cooking. Chefs not only help feed people, but they also contribute to building more sustainable food systems and healthier diets."

Chef Anahita Dhondy introduced the Finger Millet, an ancestral cereal, with several nutritional and agricultural advantages, that has been forgotten in different regions of the world. She has tried to get more people to consume it because of its many nutritional benefits. "For us, the respect of family farmers is really high. Farmers are the backbone of the culinary industry and also the heart of domestic food processes."

Chef Elijah Addo, founder and director of Food for All Africa program, works to find ways of bringing efficient and sustainable means of nutrition to all. "Agricultural innovation is the ability to work together to find new ways to use existing tools to discover ways to use new practices to mitigate the challenges of having to feed our world efficiently and sustainably."

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Chef Addo added that he comes "from a country where one out of four children goes to bed hungry, in the 21st century where more than 25 percent of food goes to waste. We need innovation."

Chef Bela Gil, daughter of the famous Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil, argued that "agricultural innovation is needed for a harmonious sustainable, peaceful, and hunger-free planet. And agroecology is our hope in humanity put into practice."

For Chef Kim Palhus "agricultural innovation has been forging a deeper cooperation with farmers, allowing to get high quality, fresh and sometimes unconventional materials to use for new recipes."

Meanwhile, "the agricultural innovation for me (Leire Arana) is a circular and sustainable economy." And for Andrea Gaudenzi it "is the perfect mix of tradition, quality and safeguard of the landscape."


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