How did you operate during the pandemic and how did it affect the initiatives that you run? 

Maciej Łepkowski (Motyka i Słońce Community Garden): During the pandemic a lot of people would come to our garden. I would hazard a guess that we were visited by more people than in previous years. It was a place where you were allowed to meet up with others. During the lockdown, it provided the opportunity for important social interaction and physical activity to many people, which was crucial for their mental wellbeing. The garden proved very useful in the pandemic, to more people than usually. Also, it looked particularly beautiful this year.

Hanna Wielgus (Family Garden Allotments): As an allotment gardener, I didn’t feel any major change. I walk a lot, I stroll around the gardens, in the alleys. Besides, this is a restricted area, so you can take off your mask, and breathe freely. In the meantime, the first flowers started to bloom, and I could smell them. Then apricots, cherries, and mirabelle plums – that was a delightful scent, as well. In May, we had wonderfully smelling blooming lilacs. The pandemic will continue, but you can go to your garden, get some air, and take a breather.

Joanna Humka (Dobrze Cooperative): Unfortunately, the pandemic had a big negative impact on our operations. The first months were difficult. Stand-by shifts in out shops were being cancelled, we lost some members. Our shops are rather small, and since we introduced restrictions on the number of people allowed to be inside at one time, we also lost some of our customers.

Marta Traczyk (W Domu Restaurant): The pandemic turned our work upside down. We had never suspected that such a huge portion of our operations can rely on deliveries. Catering for family events was no longer possible. Entire families locked in their homes required a balanced offer for each of the family members who worked and learned remotely. These meals had to be suitable for young children, high schoolers, as well as their mum and dad. We decided that over the week, we would be designing exclusively lunch sets, and we would leave fancier, more sophisticated recipes for the weekend when everyone has a little more time to enjoy fine and fun dining. And that hit the bull’s eye. The customers would call us and say: “Ms. Marta, please go on making these dinners, we don’t know what to feed our kids.” I thought that the time came when both entire families and individuals would start thinking about food, and we would support them with quality meals. In that moment I felt like Lucyna Ćwierczakowiczowa [iconic 19th cen. Polish author of books on cooking and home economics]: I felt the need to educate; that was my day, and I would fight for every person, for every child.

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For the pandemic times, community-supported agriculture

An incredibly important, but often overlooked dimension of today’s pandemic is social and mental wellbeing. In the times of various restrictions on our movements, people become increasingly isolated and we will certainly experience many negative consequences related to socio-economic crises that will result from this pandemic. In the words of Fatima Zohra Hocimi from Algeria: “CSA allows people to connect with each other, to break social boundaries and serve a cause that lies beyond themselves. CSA with multidimensional health building is the future of communities’ well-being”.

You can read the entire article here (in Polish)

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World faces worst food crisis for at least 50 years, UN warns

Even before the lockdowns, the global food system was failing in many areas, according to the UN. The report pointed to conflict, natural disasters, the climate crisis, and the arrival of pests and plant and animal plagues as existing problems. East Africa, for instance, is facing the worst swarms of locusts for decades, while heavy rain is hampering relief efforts.

The additional impact of the coronavirus crisis and lockdowns, and the resulting recession, would compound the damage and tip millions into dire hunger, experts warned.

– The Covid-19 crisis is attacking us at every angle – said Agnes Kalibata, the UN secretary general’s special envoy for the 2021 food systems summit. – It has exposed dangerous deficiencies in our food systems and actively threatens the lives and livelihoods of people around the world, especially the more than 1 billion people who have employment in the various industries in food systems.”

You can read the article here

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Growing Food in Pandemic

Capital Food is the largest food growing network in London. It supports people and communities to grow food in the city. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020/2021 Capital growth worked with over 50 gardens to grow food for the local communities.
This video presents how during the pandemic people were growing and sharing food in London.

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COVID 19 Impact on Consumer Food Behaviors in Europe

In December 2020 European Institute of Innovation and Technology published a report on the impact of COVID-19 on consumer food behaviours. Data for this survey was collected in September 2020 in 10 European countries (Spain, Sweden, Germany, UK, Poland, Italy, France, Greece, Finland, Romania).

Not surprisingly, the survey found behaviours around food shopping, cooking and consumption to have been widely affected across the board, but it also revealed significant shifts in people’s intentions post-pandemic. This includes an increased appetite for more varied cooking and dining experiences at home and rising demand for healthy food and local and sustainable options. These trends are framed by the challenging economic picture across Europe, making easy access to food at affordable prices the lead priority for our respondents going forward.

The whole report is available here

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Lifestyle changes during the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of climate change

In May and April 2020, during the first national quarantine, National Centre for Climate Change (KOZK) conducted qualitative and quantitative research aimed at analysing how the crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic impacted lifestyles, attitudes and everyday activities of Poles. One of the studied areas covered food management issues and changing eating habits. The results of the study “Lifestyle changes during the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of climate change” were presented by dr Justyna Orłowska from the Department od Socio-Economic Consequences of Climate Change of the NCCC. Presentation was given as part of a discursive series carried out by Biennale Warszawa between March and May 2021.

Justyna Orłowska

Justyna Orłowska, PhD in sociology with specialty in the anthropology of climate change from the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Member of the Advisory Team for Climate Change affiliated with the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In 2018–2020 she worked in the COP24 Presidency Office as the expert on solidarity and fair transformation and adaptation in the process of UNFCCC climate negotiations. Simultaneously, she was a consultant on climate migration for the UN Norwegian Refugee Center. For many years she has researched climate change in the Maldives, including coordinating projects commissioned by the UNICEF or in cooperation with UNEP Grid-Arendal. She executed projects with leading universities, including the Rutgers University or Georgetown in the USA. She conducted courses on sustainable development in Collegium Civitas, as well as guest lectures at the University of Edinburgh, or the Maldives National University. Currently she is the acting Head of the Department of Socio-Economic Consequences of the Climate Change in the Polish National Centre for Climate Change.

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