Food sovereignty and agroecology-People’s Expo recipe to mend broken food systems

The first international forum of civil society and peasant’s movements ended today

(Milan, June 5, 2015) People’s Expo ended today, the first international forum of civil society and peasant’s movements that began on the 3rd of June at La Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan. “An event – says Giosué De Salvo, the organizing Committee spokesman – that wanted to fill the gaps of the official Expo 2015, inviting to participate the critical actors excluded from the Universal Exhibition: peasants, fisherfolk, pastoralists, and indigenous persons, who produce 70% of food consumed globally, they are the main investors in agriculture but, at the same time, they are the most oppressed by the so-called free market”.

The event was organized by 50 NGOs and associations of the Italian civil society, rallying more than 180 representatives of 14 networks and peasant’s movements from over 50 countries of the world.

People’s Expo also has its own “Charter of Milan”, but it chose not to give it the same name to differentiate it from a document that “although stating principles that can be shared- says De Salvo -, does not clarify the responsibilities of each actor involved in the challenge of “Feeding planet”. A proper undertaking of responsibilities – continues People’s Expo spokesman – would see on the one side, civil society denouncing the violation of rights and on the other side, institutions responding adequately by offering policies and legal tools useful to fight inequalities and to defend the environment. “

For this reason, People’s Expo has produced a programmatic Manifesto, an outcome of the work done these days, which illustrate the 10 main strategies already put in place by NGOs and peasant’s movements to feed the planet sustainably, respecting human rights, biodiversity and the limits of the planet.

These strategies need to be fully shared by civil society and need concrete answers from worldwide governments.

Among the key points there are : to denounce land and water grabbing, a phenomenon which now sees more than 40 million hectares of fertile land (the equivalent surface of Italy, Switzerland and Austria combined) expropriated by corporate companies and investment funds, resulting in forced evictions and peoples’ oppression ; the claim to forbid public incentives to crop-based biofuels; the suspension of trade agreements, which are detrimental to food security and the end of financial speculation on agriculture.

Finally, the document highlights how public policies need to be established to protect biodiversity, keep the conservation, exchange and sale of seeds free and promote a new culture of food based on the consumption of seasonal, local and high quality products, with rules to prevent the advertising of high-fat and high-sugar products to children.


It’s an international forum held in Milan, at La Fabbrica del Vapore, from 3rd to 5th June, in parallel to the events of Expo 2015. A unique summit, bringing together for the first time over 150 delegates from all over the world. Participants are joining from the 5 continents and more than 50 countries representing peasant’s movements and civil society networks that operate on a daily basis in various areas such as: cooperation for development, environmental justice, human rights, organic production, and critical consumption.


The idea of ​​People’s Expo stems from the common commitment of 50 Italian NGOs and associations that have chosen to team up to influence the public debate opened by the Universal Exhibition. The objective is to propose an alternative vision of ​​”Feeding the Planet” based on the principles of food sovereignty and environmental justice. They have formed the People’s Expo Committee, by signing a manifesto. This Manifesto presents a shared vision of problems and gives clear indications concerning the solutions that lead to recognize and guarantee the right to adequate food and a fair and sustainable use of natural resources. .


The peoples and communities to whom People’s Expo gives voice are those who suffer a deep inequality of access, management and control of their natural resources (land, water, forests and sources of energy) because of the massive grabbingof these resources and the concentration of power along the global food-supply chain. In the actual context only 7 corporate companies control 70% of the seed market, 10 corporations share the market of pesticides supply and only 4 traders sell 75% of cereals, cocoa and soy. And all this to the detriment of freedom of choice, of diversification of food cultures, of producers themselves and, last but not least, environmental sustainability.


This year, while the United Nations are setting the new Sustainable Development Goals and a new Global Agreement on Climate Change, People’s Expo wants to seize the opportunity of the theme chosen by Expo 2015 to assert the voices of peoples. The governments and transnational corporations are grabbing the spotlight at the official expo and the voices of peoples must be heard through this important space. 

The main purpose is to propose and illustrate best practices and alternative solutions put in place to cope with the global problems of access to food and natural resources and this highlighting the crucial objectives of sustainability, environmental compatibility and struggle against poverty.

The aim is to influence the choices of those who govern, to fight iniquity and change the global food systems from a source of profit for few people into a primary source of rights for all.

The members of People’s Expo Committee

ACLI, Acra-CCS, Action Aid, Agices, AIAB Lombardia, AIIG- Associazione Italiana Insegnanti di Geografia – sez. Lombardia, Ai.Bi., AMREF Health Africa, Associazione Arcobaleno, ARCI, ARCS, CHICO MENDES, COE, CoLomba, Comitato Italiano Contratto Mondiale sull’Acqua onlus, Cooperativa Cambiamo, Cooperativa Famiglie Lavoratori, Coordinamento Soci Lombardia – Consorzio CTM Altromercato, COSPE, DEAFAL, DESR Brianza, DESR Martesana, Focuspuller, Fondazione Aiutare i Bambini, Fratelli dell’Uomo, GVC, HUMANA People to People Italia, IBVA, WE WORLD, IPSIA nazionale, ISCOS, Istituto OIKOS, L’Africa Chiama, LEGAMBIENTE, MANI TESE, NEXUS Emilia Romagna, Nutrire il Pianeta è Nutrire la Pace – Rete territoriale Cremona, OXFAM ITALIA, PAX CHRISTI, PIME, Progetto AXÈ, SLOW FOOD, SOLETERRE, Tavolo RES, Terre di Mezzo, VIS, WWF

The international networks participating to People’s Expo

Terra Madre network of food communities, Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), La Via Campesina, IPC – International Planning Committee on Food Sovereignty, Nyeleni Europe, World Fair Trade Organization, Urgenci (the international network of community-supported agriculture), RIPESS – Intercontinental network for the promotion of social solidarity economy, Climate Action Network, La Red Vida – Vigilancia Interamericana para la Defensa y Derecho al Agua.