“Feeding the planet”, the theme of the Milan World’s Fair, is perhaps the biggest challenge ahead for humanity. But what exactly do we mean by “food”?
The theme of Expo 2015
Food is not just the obvious way we provide our bodies with the energy and nutrition they need – and therefore the primary right of each person – but also the foundation of healthy physical and mental development, and therefore health and longevity. The extraordinary improvements in quality of life that have been achieved over recent generations are probably due more to better food than to more effective medicines. Consequently, having enough to eat is also a precondition for every kind of individual emancipation and economic development.
Eating is also one of life’s essential pleasures, which is accessible to everyone and which no one can do without. It’s a pleasure that brings us together. Food traditions are a reflection of our lives, evolving over time and telling us who we are and what community we belong to.
For all these reasons, food really is “energy for life”. But “to guarantee a good, healthy, sufficient and sustainable diet for all of humanity”, as Expo 2015 asks, is an enormous challenge, not just because of the numbers involved, but also because the equally numerous dimensions – scientific, technological, environmental, economic, political, social and cultural – are all inter-connected.
Like any complex problem, this one has no simple solutions either. There is no single cause of food problems, just as there is no single solution: we distrust demagogues (of any political colour) with some kind of magical answer up their sleeves. In reality, solutions have to be as diverse as the local situations they seek to resolve. That’s why there will be equally diverse ideas from all over the world at Expo 2015. Because the food challenge – as the past has taught us – can be met.