Every year, millions of tons of food are thrown away in Germany's supermarkets, even though they are still edible. Given the fact that our food supply in the future is not secure due to the increasingly escalating consequences of the climate crisis, this is simply absurd.
On January 24, 2022, a group of determined people started highway blockades in Berlin to demand that the federal government save food in the here and now and for the future. Very specifically – They called for a food-saving law so that large supermarkets would no longer be allowed to throw away good food but would have to redistribute it. They also wanted the Climate Citizens' Assembly's proposals for agricultural transition to be implemented in order to secure food supply in the future.
Five weeks of determined civil resistance followed - 69 blockades of highways and eventual disruptions at ports and airports. Despite discussions with the SPD and the GREENS and statements from the Ministry of Agriculture that they were “working on the issue”, the law was not passed, let alone created food security for the future.
Instead, 254 peaceful citizens were taken into custody. Some spent a combined total of over 100 hours in police custody in January and February for the Food Saving Act. Instead of taking this simple, first step and passing the Food Saving Act that GermanZero had already formulated and thus sending a credible signal that the federal government is assuming its responsibility for food security, it left behind individual supporters of “Saving Food "Saving lives" even the door of the prison slams shut at the end.
Peaceful resistance has strengthened the imperative discourse on the climate crisis, but has failed to overcome the government's lethal stance. The proposals of the Citizens' Climate Assembly and the urgently needed change in agriculture continue to be hushed up, the Food Saving Act failed due to political insistence on the coalition agreement.
“The government continues to hide behind excuses, disregards the democratic Citizens’ Climate Assembly and continues to not do its job.”said Carla Rochel (20) after she was in the Stadelheim prison for several days because of her protest for a food-saving law.
Photos: Stefan Müller
To raise awareness about the tons of food being wasted, people across the country rescued food from supermarket trash and gave it away during the Save Food, Save Lives campaign. In some cases the police put the food back in the trash. A total of 50 such were found Activities instead.
Some, such as the Jesuit Fr Jörg Alt or the woman from Hamburg Melanie Guttmann, turned themselves in for this theft of food from the supermarket garbage bin in order to campaign for a change in the law. As a result of his self-report, Jörg Alt is accused of “serious theft”. After a lot of media attention, the public prosecutor dropped the lawsuit. He requested that she be readmitted.