“Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life”. Next year Milan will host Expo 2015, which, with its planetary theme, is bidding to be the first exposition of a glocal world. While the Expo in Shanghai in 2010, “Better City, Better Life”, could be considered an exposition in an inter-national mould, the theme “Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life” cannot be structured as one of competition among the participating nations, but rather must be faced in an awareness of synthesis, organicity and collaboration, on a glocal scale.
In the theme of Expo 2015, in fact, the two classical planes of glocalism – what must be done at global level and what at local level – are necessarily manifested together. In a world that is by now interconnected and increasingly densely populated, it is indispensable to adopt a glocal approach to tackle issues such as nutrition and the distribution of resources. What issue could in fact be more g-local than the safeguarding of the planet and bio-diversity, biological and cultural?
In order to understand the meaning of this reciprocity, in the text of the call for papers that is at the basis of the present issue of Glocalism, we have highlighted the need to feed the planet that feeds us. “It raises the problem of dual reciprocity at global level, between people and people, and between people and nature. It therefore brings up the basic issue of economic production in relation to the needs of feeding the world population, and the other no less significant issue of environmental sustainability in respect of this same production […]”. It is for this reason that, given the particular nature and scope of the theme selected, in addition to the scientific articles that make up the magazine proper, we have also created a “Focus” section in which we give space to contributions and comments from institutional players or those with significant experiences as regards the issues of nutrition, energy and sustainability. In this context, particular attention is devoted to the theme of water and the sustainable management of water resources, on which a testimony of political vision of great interest is offered by Romano Prodi. But, again on the theme of water, there is no shortage in this issue of in-depth analyses from a more local perspective.
Furthermore, consistent with the glocal approach that characterises the journal Glocalism, we wanted to highlight the role that a locus such as Milan may have in contributing to the global debate on these themes. And the contribution by the Mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia, to our journal is an important testimony of this vocation and awareness. Milan, in fact, with the great plain that surrounds it, has for centuries been “the Eldorado” of European food supply, an outstanding resource built on the centuries-old tradition of the perfecting of advanced agricultural technologies, to which all those from the Cistercian monks to geniuses such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Carlo Cattaneo have contributed. And it is, at the same time, by name and by nature, a “midland”, a social and cultural platform of relations and connections between Europe and the Mediterranean. Milan is therefore not only the hosting locus of the event, but, by virtue of what can be defined as its genius loci, it is also challenged to set up an organic discourse capable of proving hegemonic on food, sustainability and energy.
And today those interpreting the genius loci of Milan for Expo are bodies such as: the Universities, with experiences such as the “UCSC ExpoLAB” laboratory of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, to which Rector Anelli makes reference in his contribution; research centres and foundations, including ISPI or the Feltrinelli Foundation, with the scientific proposal of the Expo Laboratory; institutions such as the new Milanese metropolitan city and the FAO; glocal experiences such as those of Slow Food and the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, keen to foster the appreciation of the territories and a responsible food culture, for whom “feeding the planet must mean producing, creating, energy for life, not simply consuming”. But also committed in this field are leading businesses in key sectors such as the provision of food for those on the move, namely Autogrill, and businesses involved for years in the promotion of a sustainable culture of food, such as Barilla with the Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation.
Effective and innovative proposals can take shape from the work and interconnections of this complex network of players and experiences, such as that of the “Protocol of Milan” for a sustainable and global food policy to be submitted to the participating organisations, who must develop reflections, visions and political proposals that will emerge from the melting pot of Expo 2015.
It is our wish that the discussion around this issue, which we will be delighted to host on the journal’s website and on subsequent public occasions of debate and the exchange of ideas, may make a contribution to the wider debate on the major challenges associated with food and the safeguarding of the planet, not only with a view to Expo, but, starting from Expo, for the future.
Chairman, Globus et Locus
Editor-in-Chief of “Glocalism”