Food: ‘A Powerful Tool for Change’

Author: Michelle Russell       

EAT Stockholm Food Forum

Dr. Gunhild Stordalen speaks at the EAT Stockholm Food Forum 2019. (Johan Lygrell)

“We’re all aware of the urgency.” Dr. Gunhild Stordalen didn’t mince words when she welcomed 1,000 attendees working in science, politics, business, and civil society around the world to the EAT Stockholm Food Forum in June. On the one hand, she said, we have the growing global health crisis, and “the natural ecosystem on the brink of collapse on the other.” But the physician, environmental advocate, and founder and executive chair of EAT — a Stockholm-based, global nonprofit startup “dedicated to transforming our global food system through sound science, impatient disruption, and novel partnerships” — also pointed out how far we’ve come in understanding the potential for food to fix these problems. Which depends in turn, she said, on collaborating “to fix food.”

In 2015, when EAT held its first food forum, also in Stockholm, there were fewer than 400 people in the audience, Stordalen said. At that time, “food was a totally scattered issue. And it was rarely mentioned in climate or health agendas. Now, basically everyone agrees that we need to reboot the food system, and make it fair, healthy, sustainable, efficient, and socially just.”

In 2019, Stordalen continued, “the world is starting to grasp that the food transformation is just as crucial as the energy transition. But unlike energy … the amazing thing about food is that almost everyone can make a difference. And that makes food such a powerful tool for change.”

In concluding her opening keynote, Stordalen reinforced the potential all events have to create social transformation. “Amongst us here,” she told the audience, “there is a multitude of knowledge, resources, creativity, influence, power, and money. And our joint efforts can create not only hope, but real change.”

This story is part of Convene’s CMP Series, which enables readers to earn one hour of CE credit toward CMP certification from the Events Industry Council. Find the main story, “Can Events Help Solve the Global Food Crisis? For access to additional CMP Series stories, go to CMP Series web page.