2020 for 2020 – Calling on chefs to cook up diversity for a better future

19 February 2019, Paris, France: The Food Forever Initiative and the Chefs’ Manifesto are joining forces today at Knorr and WWF’s Future 50 Forum to launch ‘2020 for 2020,’ a global campaign that calls on chefs to advocate for the amazing wealth of diversity within our food systems and to put it to use in their kitchens and beyond.

Protecting the diversity of our foods is vital to feeding a growing global population. Yet, according to scientists, we’re losing genetic resources every day, and we use only a fraction of what we have left. Estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization suggest that of the 30,000 edible plant species that exist, just four (wheat, rice, maize and potato) account for nearly 60% of our calories.

Choosing to eat underutilised and lesser-known crops can improve nutrient intake and build greater resilience into a food system threatened by over simplification and climate change.

Under Target 2.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals, the global community has committed to protecting what remains of this vast, colorful spectrum of diversity by 2020. Unlike most of the SDGs which culminate in 2030, the targeted end for SDG Target 2.5 is 2020, meaning there is a very short window to drive action on the target.

To encourage progress and raise awareness of this urgent goal, Food Forever and the Chefs’ Manifesto have launched 2020 for 2020, which calls on chefs across the globe to use their networks to support biodiversity conservation through the championing of a greater diversity in our food system.

The announcement comes as part of the Future 50 Forum, convened by Knorr and WWF to launch their Future 50 Foods report.  This report highlights 50 nutritious, sustainable – yet currently underused ingredients – which people can eat for greater dietary and planetary health. The Forum brings together Former White House Chef, Sam Kass, and leaders from  Knorr, WWF, EAT Foundation, Carrefour, Yolele Foods, Crop Trust and the SDG 2 Advocacy Hub to explore solutions which will help mainstream plant-forward, diverse diets.

2020 for 2020 provides the audience with a clear example of how chefs can deliver food system reform by using materials like the Future 50 Foods report to drive tangible action in their kitchens and restaurants and inspire others to try lesser known ingredients.

Speaking from the Forum, Crop Trust Executive Director, Marie Haga, said: “A sustainable, nutritious and affordable food system cannot be achieved unless we go back to building blocks of agriculture – the diversity of our foods – one of the most important global common goods in world but one which we speak about the least. Chefs are becoming superheroes of this issue and can be instrumental in bringing the importance of biodiversity higher on the international agenda and in the minds and hearts of their consumers.”

Chefs often bridge the gap between farm and fork, influencing production and consumption patterns. By promoting diversity and educating and inspiring their guests through their food, chefs can positively impact the health of the planet and their consumers.

Actions under the campaign include adding diverse ingredients to restaurant menus, highlighting diverse ingredients of the month through educational material, and advocating for the importance of conserving these resources in events and online.

Chef actions will be showcased on the Food Forever and Chefs’ Manifesto websites and the impact mapped to demonstrate progress and showcase how chefs can inspire better ways of cooking and eating through their kitchens, restaurants and recipes.

By mobilizing chefs and in the end consumers, our hope is that the importance of conserving crop diversity reaches as many people possible, so that come 2020, the prospect of ending hunger isn’t just a goal – but a reality.

SDG2 Advocacy Hub, Director, Paul Newnham shared “With a 2020 deadline, we need immediate action to safeguard the world’s biodiversity. This is urgent. Adding diversity and colour to our plates is critical for the health of people and planet–but it must also taste good. Chefs around the globe are already inspiring tasty, nutritious and diverse options on our plates. By actively championing biodiversity inside and outside the kitchen, Chefs can play a key role in creating interest in and a market for more diverse ingredients, helping to support farmers’ livelihoods, improve diets and strengthen our food systems.”

If you are a chef, you can sign up to be a part of the campaign through our survey here and find a collection of resources with ideas and inspiration here.

If you’re like the rest of us, continue to watch this space for updates and support restaurants and chefs committed to creating a diverse, sustainable and delicious future.

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Food Forever: is an awareness-raising campaign to support Target 2.5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Our aim is to make sure the message about the importance of conserving crop and livestock diversity reaches as many people possible. We do this by rallying support from stakeholders – be they politicians, farmers, chefs, businesses, or individuals – to drive the campaign. The Initiative is operated by the Crop Trust and Netherlands Government with support from high-level Champions and partner organizations from politics, business and civil society that have agreed to advocate for the biodiversity of our foods.

The Chefs’ Manifesto: a chef-led project that brings together chefs from around the world to explore how they can help deliver a sustainable food system. As chefs bridge the gap between farm and fork, the Chefs’ Manifesto empowers chefs with a framework tied to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. As a clear action of Chefs’ Manifesto Area 2: Protection of Biodiversity & Improved Animal Welfare, the Chefs’ Network for the Global Goals is partnering with Food Forever to support the 2020 for 2020 campaign. This is facilitated by the SDG2 Advocacy Hub.

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