Climate and food sovereignty activists staged a high visibility protest at the opening day of the Regenerative Agriculture & Food Systems Summit, being held in Amsterdam this week.
Around 10 activists from groups including Extinction Rebellion and Aseed Europe chained themselves together at the entrance of the Krasnapolsky Hotel in Dam Square, while others unfurled a banner on the roof of thew summit venue.
By around 11.15am, according to local media reports, several protesters had been arrested by police.
The activists claim that the event – whose sponsors include Nestlé, Yara, and Syngenta – is providing a platform for multinational food and agribusiness companies to further control the narrative around sustainable food and farming. In a statement, they said: “These companies pretend to lead the transition to a more resilient and equitable food system, but they are primarily at the root of our interconnected social, climate -, environmental and health crisis”.
Extinction Rebellion said the summit provided a platform for multinationals to “deliberate how they can further greenwash their polluting and neocolonial practices”.
The Dutch organic commentator and climate activist Ronald van Marlen said he would attend the two-day even “to get to know the people, the companies and the corporate marketing machine behind it, adding that “having Yara International and Nestlé as Gold and Platinum Sponsors this should at least raise some eyebrows”.
Another organic sector attendee, Konrad Hauptfleisch, of Starfish Organic, wrote on LinkedIn: “The corporate embrace of the ‘regenerative’ space is a recognition that they cannot continue raping and pillaging the planet as they did before, but they fail to understand that their extractive business model cannot be tweaked to be more organic, regenerative or fair. It needs to be fundamentally restructured and redesigned. And I don’t see that happening, sadly.
“I am happy to have met many people inside this space who are listening, who share my misgivings and agree that any regenerative agriculture model is doomed to fail if it excludes the youth, the consumers, and the farmers of the world.|”
Image: Extinction Rebellion Nederland