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Moving beyond the Moo– A Post Cow World

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The Protein Universe: To an Infinite Protein Palate and Beyond, Thanks to Precision Fermentation

According to a new report by the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) initiative, a global investor network that aims to put factory farming on the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda, animal agriculture is deeply unprepared for the transition to a sustainable food system. But there is one interesting silver lining: 28 out of 60 publicly-listed animal protein companies – almost half – now have some involvement in animal free proteins, which includes seven in cultivated meat.

The shift toward animal free proteins even from within parts of the existing agricultural system is a signal of what’s to come: Precision Fermentation (PF) will disrupt the food industry – a process Catherine Tubb and Tony Seba describe in detail in the RethinkX report, Rethinking Food and Agriculture (2019) – and contrary to prevailing myths, it is already on track to become cost-competitive and eventually cheaper than the conventional livestock industry over the next decade.

But the disappearance of animal agriculture is just the beginning. According to Tubb and Seba, PF means that we will be capable of producing all kinds of different molecules from fats and oils to pigments and vitamins, and will open up endless possibilities for new products in the future. This will bring about profound change to the food system as a whole. And while each class of molecule is important the most important, the one that will drive the disruption, is protein.

This blog contains a summary of Rethinking Food and Agriculture, 2019 by Catherine Tubb and Tony Seba.

 

What is a Protein?

Proteins are a class of biomolecule that execute an immense number of functions to make life happen. They are found throughout nature, in plants, animals, fungi, and so on, and are responsible for the many key processes that keep them alive. The ability to manipulate proteins confers the ability to manipulate life itself.

There are many different types of proteins:

  • Structural proteins (keratin, collagen)- Provide structure and support for the cell and the body and allow the body to move.

 

  • Antibodies (immunoglobulin G) – Help protect the body against foreign particles such as viruses and bacteria.

 

  • Enzymes (Amylase, Lactase) – Assist with the formation of new molecules by reading the genetic information in DNA. They speed up reactions and carry out almost all of the thousands of chemical reactions that take place in cells.

 

  • Messenger proteins (Insulin, Growth hormone) – Transmit signals to coordinate biological processes between cells, tissues, and organs.

 

  • Transport proteins (Hemoglobin, Ferritin) – Bind and carry atoms and small molecules within cells and throughout the body.

_______________________

“Every functionality in every living organism on the planet is based on making protein polymers”

-Dan Widmaier, CEO Bolt Threads

_______________________

The Protein Universe

How many proteins are there in the world? The short answer is that we don’t exactly know.

Proteins are a key part of the inner and outer workings of all living things, which, given the diversity of species, gives a sense of just how much variety in proteins there exists in the natural world. While similar species groups have a similar base set of proteins – i.e., all mammals produce collagen – even the same type of protein in each animal is different, expressing different properties. If we then apply that to every protein within every system within every organism, the total number of proteins appears larger and larger.

 

To Infinity…

When we break down proteins into their components and examine the question from a genetic perspective, the number of possible proteins is effectively infinite.

Proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids (aa) – ranging from about 100 for short ribosomal proteins to over 33,000 for something like titin, which gives human muscles their elasticity. These linear sequences are held together by different peptide bonds and fold into three-dimensional structures, which give proteins their biological and chemical functionality.

The median length of a eukaryote protein (most living organisms, including plants, fungi, and animals) is about 400 aa. While there are about 500 aa in nature, only 20 of them appear in the genetic code. So, the total number of possible unique proteins of length 400 is 20400. Type this into Google’s scientific calculator and the answer is infinite (other calculators simply give an error message).

The same is true for prokaryota (bacteria and archea) proteins. Prokaryota protein length is about 300 aa, so the total number of possible unique proteins of length 300 is 20300. Again, the answer is ‘infinity’. We finally get a number when we lower the protein length to 225 aa, about 10292. To put that into perspective, there are 1080 atoms in the known universe.

 

…And Beyond

If there are an infinite number of proteins that can theoretically be designed, what does that mean for the food system?

The food system as it currently stands may seem diverse but is actually fairly limited. Aside from being one of the 4 macronutrients, proteins act as key ingredients in foods, bringing functionality like taste, texture, and structure to different products. They are responsible for key properties like emulsification, glazing, binding, and frothing that bring complexity and variation to different foods.

We currently use all kinds of different proteins in the food system – largely sourced from the 12 plants and 5 animals that make up 75% of the world’s foods. Despite the fact that each of these plant and animal species contains a wide variety of proteins that we extract for food, materials or pharmaceuticals, and that altogether they do provide access to a large pool of proteins that are available to use, plants and animals still cannot possibly compete with an infinite number of potential types of protein.

Precision Fermentation is the technology on which the disruption of food and agriculture depends because it does not just allow us to produce proteins – it allows us to produce any proteins. Using genetic engineering we can take the genes that code for any of the proteins we use today from our collection of plants and animals, insert them into a microbe, and produce them through fermentation. But we are not limited to directly copying the proteins we already use; we can use genetic engineering to mix and match genes from different places and even add in synthetic ones to create completely novel proteins. Ones that are upgrades on the ones we use, and ones we have never seen before.

This means that using PF to make proteins for the new food system is not a 1 for 1 substitution. It doesn’t end at simply replicating the proteins we already extract and use in a more efficient way. Instead, it means that new food products can be designed with functionality in mind. Custom proteins mean that we can essentially make and tailor the taste, texture, and structure of food to do anything we want it to.

PF also puts protein and, later, product design, production and distribution in the hands of many. It enables a distributed network of food production, product design and distribution that is far superior and much more expansive than the centralized production system we currently have. In this way, just like with protein, the disruption of the overall food system is not a 1 for 1 replacement of the one we already have – but instead, a totally new system.

Source: RethinkX

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How Climate Change Narratives are Used Against Us

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Divide and Conquer

How Climate Change Narratives are Used Against Us

A Growing Culture

We all care about ending world hunger. We all care about climate change. And we tend to demonstrate this care by contributing to solving them — by reducing our consumption, or perhaps by donating to causes we believe in. Our empathy guides our actions — we want the world to be fairer and better, not only for ourselves but for others as well.

But the dominant narratives surrounding these problems often weaponize these very emotions to overemphasize individual responsibility. This shifts the focus away from their root causes — the vast and unjust overconsumption of the corporate elite in their quest for ever-growing profits.

The typical conversation about climate change focuses on consumption — mostly that of individuals. We’re told we have to reduce our energy use, consume the ‘right’ products, recycle more, drive less, and have fewer children.

The conversation about food is even worse. Articles, reports, and studies about agriculture are likely to contain some version of the following sentiment: “The population is expected to grow to almost 10 billion people by 2050. We must double food production in order to meet demand without hiking up prices. How are we going to produce enough food to feed all of these people without destroying the planet?”

Increasing food production to meet the demands of a growing population is presented as the ultimate conundrum. Proposed solutions are predominantly centered on increased reliance on technologies to maximize yields and feed ‘all of these hungry people’ as the population grows, accelerating at a seemingly unstoppable rate. Whatever new technologies or techniques are introduced, they are, first and foremost, measured along the metric of increasing yield.

This narrative isn’t just misguided — it depoliticizes the problem, shifting blame in a dangerous way.

The reality is that we have enough food on the planet to feed every human being a calorically complete and healthy diet. Contrary to popular belief, hunger is most often caused not by a lack of food but by a lack of access. With the amount of food we produce today, we could feed the highest population prediction of 10 billion people by 2050 — today.

This has much more to do with economic inequality than anything to do with population. The people who cannot afford food are most often the people involved in growing it. The vast majority of the world’s impoverished people, most of whom live in rural areas, are involved in agriculture. This seems counterintuitive, but many farmers worldwide are net food buyers, meaning they do not subsist on the food they grow, they sell their crops and use that money to buy food for their families.

When prices for crops are too low to offset input prices, when farmers face barriers to accessing markets or credit, or they are forced into exploitative contracts or other arrangements, farmers do not have adequate funds to purchase food for themselves and their families. This is the result of the long process of industrialization that has displaced millions of rural people and removed them from their traditional agricultural practices, replacing polycultures with monocultures.

Perhaps the other most damning piece of evidence to counter the narrative that we must ramp up production to end hunger is that some cities have already ended it — without increasing yield. Belo Horizonte, one of the largest cities in Brazil, managed to virtually eliminate hunger through a network of policies addressing different facets of the issue. They expanded school meal programs; partnered with local small farmers to deliver produce to underserved parts of the city at fixed prices for staples; created subsidized restaurants where people could eat affordable, dignified meals, and a host of other policies. It never took more than 2 percent of their annual budget, and the whole transition took less than 10 years. It didn’t require corporations ‘innovating’ or developing expensive technologies. It required political will, the strengthening of governance systems, declaring food as a right of citizenship, and correcting for hunger as a market failure.

We are choosing not to end hunger. Presenting it otherwise obscures the fact that it is, at its core, a matter of political will — not a matter of ability.

In the climate change debate, we see a similar narrative around overpopulation: politicians — and even supposedly progressive conservationists like David Attenborough and Jane Goodall — critique high birth rates and overpopulation for exacerbating climate change. This fails to take into account that 10% of the world’s population is responsible for at least 50 percent of the entire world’s carbon emissions. On the corporate side, only one hundred companies are responsible for 71 percent of carbon emissions. This rampant inequality is only getting worse: during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic between March and December 2020, billionaires’ wealth increased by $3.9 trillion. In the same period, the ​​number of people subsisting on less than $5.50 per day increased as much as 500 million. The degree of inequality is quite literally unimaginable.

And although it’s not always explicitly stated, there are always certain populations that are growing ‘too quickly’ and having ‘too many children,’ and it’s not from the elite group of overconsumers. It’s referring to Black and Brown populations in the Majority World. This narrative has given rise to highly problematic ecofacist and eugenic discourses within climate change, even spilling over into tragedies like mass sterilization programs. These are the populations who suffer the most from the effects of climate change, and simultaneously contribute the least to the problem.

Our problem is not overpopulation. The problem is not the consumption of the masses, but the consumption of the few, unfettered capitalism, and the relentless pursuit of growth at the expense of human life.

Overpopulation narratives are dangerous for reasons that exceed their misguidedness. They use carefully selected language to communicate who is responsible for the problem, and who is responsible for fixing it.

When we call someone voiceless, for example, or talk about “giving someone a voice,” the onus is placed subconsciously on them for failing to be heard. But when we call them silenced, our attention goes to the perpetrator — we immediately ask who is silencing them. It’s the same vital shift from calling people ‘slaves’ to identifying them as ‘enslaved,’ which places the onus on those doing the enslaving, rather than attaching the identity to the person themselves.

The narratives around climate change and agriculture need the same reframing. The way you define a problem guides the arc of the solution. When population is centered as the core of the challenge, the blame is subtly placed on the masses for ‘consuming too much.’ It’s always “We must feed the world” and “We must end climate change,” as if these problems simply arose with no intentional perpetration, and that we must all valiantly come together to solve them because we are all implicated in creating them. This is wrong. It’s a new form of climate denial; since outright denial has become a politically untenable position, corporations shift the blame onto individuals — onto us.

This move is especially insidious because it capitalizes on the inherent care that people have for others, the fact that they want to ‘do the right thing,’ feel guilty about the suffering of others and want to make a difference. It’s almost too easy to convince people that they are the problem and keep them constantly trying to live more sustainably, and feeling guilty if they fall short. Even worse, this makes us prone to judging those who can’t afford to access ‘sustainable’ alternatives, as if that were the problem and not the consolidation of corporate power that caused this lack of access to begin with.

We also cannot forget that this push to shift blame onto individuals came directly from the private sector. BP, the massive oil company, hired PR firm Ogilvy & Mather to invent and popularize the concept of an individual carbon footprint. In 2004, they unveiled their very own carbon footprint calculator to shift the blame for climate change away from their actions and onto individuals.

Complicity in this unjust system does not come primarily from choices around consumption. It comes from failing to challenge the underlying power structures. This is not to say that individual consumption plays no part in the issue; it’s to remind us to be wary of those who weaponize that guilt and direct attention away from the root causes. Why are we continuing to shame ourselves, implicate ourselves, when we are all doing the best we can with the resources and knowledge that we have, while corporations knowingly prey on these emotions to continue amassing wealth at all of our expense?

This guilt, this feeling of complicity from ‘consuming too much’ is misdirected energy that could be used for mass mobilization, a tactic far more likely to address the power structures that got us here in the first place. And by standing alongside those already fighting to address inequality around the world, we stand a chance to actually achieve the sustainability we’re trying to build.

Let us be clear: the problem does not lie in the masses. The solution does.

It’s time to push back against world leaders and corporate actors joining hands and promising that “We will end climate change, together.” No. First, we must get angry. And then we must flip the script back onto these powerful actors. You will stop looting the rest of the world. You will stop prioritizing wealth accumulation over human life. You will stop extracting the last of our resources. You will clean up your mess.

And we will stop at nothing until you do.

Source: AGrowing Culture

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Celebrating Food Sovereignty | Highlights of Solidarity Actions in October

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Celebrating Food Sovereignty | Highlights of Solidarity Actions in October

In October this year 2021, La Via Campesina together with the rest of the food sovereignty movement celebrated 25 years of peasant-led efforts and campaign to bring food sovereignty to reality. This was a moment reflect and strategize how to continue to resist a model of production driven by greed for profit at all cost. The concept was formally introduced in policy circles in 1996 at the World Food Summit in Rome and later broadened collectively in 2007 and structured in six key pillars to reflect the interests of many vulnerable and often neglected constituencies.The reflections started beginning of the year 2021, and converged on the 16th of October, the day of action for food sovereignty and against transnational corporations (TNCs). On this day, an international webinar on “Food Sovereignty: 25 years building the future” was held.

Elizabeth Mpofu, the outgoing General Coordinator of La Via Campesina, encouraged participants to continue to enrich the concept and build a better societies at a time when the world is at a cross road on many policy issues, of which the ideal food system to solve hunger and poverty is one among many.

The introduction of Food Sovereignty as a collective right has changed how the world understands poverty and hunger, which until recently was shaped by a narrow idea of “Food Security” dominated governance and policy-making circles founded on market ideology. Elizabeth Mpofu said “What is clear to all is that neoliberal policies, capitalism has failed! Now is the time to transform! We have the Peasant Rights Declaration to support the transformation… We have a great challenge before us to convince our governments not only to embrace Food Sovereignty but make and implement policies in favour of Food Sovereignty”.

How did we start to mobilise?

A Call to humanity to take action and unite for food sovereignty against corporate capture of food governance systems with a sloganFood Sovereignty is Land, Water, Seeds, Bread and Solidarity!” was issued in September by La Via Campesina to kick start the mobilisations. In that call, Artists and Writers were also invited to write and draw for food Sovereignty. The Call noted the context in which the 25-year celebration and reflections were happening, a time when the planet and humanity is facing unprecedented crisis upon crisis and that neoliberalism was the cause.

In early October, La Via Campesina issued a statement in October in which Food Sovereignty is a presented as a “Manifesto for the Future of Our Planet, an idea that unites humanity and cares for Mother Earth that feeds and nourishes all living things.

Solidarity Actions: Highlights

Today, the movement for food sovereignty has grown so big and is diverse. This was shown by the many actions and activities that were organised in celebration of the 25 years of this collective construction in all the four corners of the world. Many more actions are still being planned including organising the Nyéléni Global process to broaden and open discussions among movements for food sovereignty globally and will culminate in 2023 with a Nyéléni Global Forum. The academics for food sovereignty are also planning meetings to do critical reflection on the concept and offer views for the future.

Palestine: The Struggle for Food Sovereignty under Occupation

The Israeli occupation deprives Palestinians of their right to food, right to life and right to development. 32.7% of Palestinians overall are food insecure. In the Gaza strip, this figure rises to 68.5%. Israeli occupation still prevents the import of goods and raw materials, as well as the export of agricultural products. In this webinar, listen to farmers and fisherfolks on the frontline in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as international experts and activists.

The International Youth Articulation and the International Collective on Agroecology, Seeds and Biodiversity of La Via Campesina shared their experiences on local agroecology training from a variety of territories from Africa, America, Asia and Europe in a virtual forum full of a strong spirit of building alternatives and continuing on the struggle.

This workshop, hosted by our allies ETC Group and Grain, unpacks the concept of “digitalization” and look at how corporations are pursuing forms of digital agriculture in different parts of the world that undermine peasant-led agroecology and food sovereignty. It will also demystify such concepts as datafication, digital land records, artificial intelligence and fintech.

This online seminar, hosted by FIAN and held on Oct. 13, 2021, unpacked corporate-led false solutions to hunger and the role of states and intergovernmental organizations in tolerating and even promoting such solutions.

  • Agrarian Reform and the Defense of Land and Territories

Hosted by Focus on the Global South, FIAN and La Via Campesina, this webinar discussed the implementation of popular agrarian reform to achieve food sovereignty. Earlier in the month, Focus also hosted a regional dialogue in Asia that brought together some successful initiatives in the region to advance food sovereignty.

Friends of the Earth International as well as Urgenci were among other allies who joined in with more webinars that looked the issue of climate justice in the context of Food Sovereignty. They also carried out workshops that debunked the myth of “Nature Based Solutions”.

La Via Campesina’s Youth Articulation took advantage of the Young Farmers’ Roundtable organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the family farmers’ organizations working on implementing the United Nations Decade of Family Farming (UNDFF 2019-2028) to call for comprehensive agrarian reform and food sovereignty. “If the villages do not sow, the city cannot eat,” said Micheline Aduel, a young peasant leader from Haiti and the ICC member of La Via Campesina, highlighting the need for and importance of comprehensive agrarian reform.

The regional articulations of La Via Campesina also organized several events, actions and webinars (see #16Oct Gallery) during the month. La Via Campesina members and many other organisations organised also various actions of solidarity, exchanged seeds, planted trees, where conditions permitted street protests were organised, etc.

A series of postcards based on the 1996 Food Sovereignty declaration were developed and are being shared to create wider awareness on the political concept.

 

The Struggle Continues!

This year is a moment for us to amplify the grassroots solutions we have built over the last two decades to bring food sovereignty to our territories. In the month of November, LVC will continue to bring our communication materials, animation videos, postcards and posters to celebrate our collective struggles and build on this global solidarity.

Follow all our articles here: https://viacampesina.org/en/tag/25-years-of-food-sovereignty/

For latest communication materials follow us on Facebook (@viacampesinaOfficial), Twitter (@via_campesina) and Instagram (la_via_campesina_official)

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Food Sovereignty, a Manifesto for the Future of Our Planet | La Via Campesina

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Food Sovereignty, a Manifesto for the Future of Our Planet | La Via Campesina

OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM LA VIA CAMPESINA, AS WE MARK 25 YEARS OF OUR COLLECTIVE STRUGGLES FOR FOOD SOVEREIGNTY


Food Sovereignty is a philosophy of life.

It offers a vision for our collective future, and defines the principles around which we organize our daily living and co-exist with Mother Earth. It is a celebration of life and all the diversity around us. It embraces every element of our cosmos; the sky above our heads, the land beneath our feet, the air we breathe, the forests, the mountains, valleys, farms, oceans, rivers and ponds. It recognizes and protects the inter-dependency between eight million species that share this home with us.

We inherited this collective wisdom from our ancestors, who ploughed the land and waded the waters for 10,000 years, a period in which we evolved into an agrarian society. Food Sovereignty promotes justice, equality, dignity, fraternity and solidarity. Food Sovereignty is also the science of life – built through lived realities spread across countless generations, each teaching their progeny something new, inventing new methods and techniques which sat harmoniously with nature.

As holders of this rich heritage, it is our collective responsibility to defend it and preserve it.

Recognizing this as our duty – especially in the late ’90s when conflicts, acute hunger, global warming and extreme poverty were too visible to ignore – La Via Campesina(LVC) brought the paradigm of Food Sovereignty into international policy-making spaces. LVC reminded the world that this philosophy of life must guide the principles of our shared living.

The ’80s and the ’90s were an era of unbridled capitalist expansion – at a pace never seen before in human history. Cities were expanding, growing on the backs of cheap, unpaid and underpaid labour. The countryside was being pushed into oblivion. Rural communities and rural ways of living were swept under the carpet by a new ideology that wanted to turn everybody into a mere consumer of things and an object of exploitation for profit. Popular culture and consciousness were under the spell of glittery advertisements goading people to “buy more”. In all this, though, the ones who produced – the working class in the rural areas, coasts and cities, which included the peasants and other small-scale food producers – remained invisible, while the ones who could afford to consume with wander took centre stage. Pushed to the edges, peasant1 workers and indigenous communities worldwide recognized the urgent necessity for an organized and internationalist response to this globalizing, free-market ideology propagated by the defenders of the capitalist world order. Food Sovereignty became one of the expressions of this collective response.

At the 1996 World Food Summit, in a debate about how we organize our global food systems, La Via Campesina coined the term food sovereignty; to insist upon the centrality of the small-scale food producers, the accumulated wisdom of generations, the autonomy and diversity of rural and urban communities and solidarity between peoples, as essential components for crafting policies around food and agriculture.

In the ensuing decade, social movements and civil society actors worked together to define it further “as the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.”

The introduction of Food Sovereignty as a collective right changed how the world understood poverty and hunger.

Until then, especially in the early years of the 21st century, a narrow idea of “Food Security” dominated governance and policy-making circles. Noble in its intent, food security treated those affected by hunger as objects of compassion, risked reducing them to passive consumers of food produced elsewhere. While it recognized food as a fundamental human right, it did not defend the objective conditions for producing food. Who produces? For Whom? How? Where? And Why? All these questions were absent, and the focus was decidedly on merely “feeding the people”. An overt emphasis on people’s food security ignored the hazardous consequences of industrial food production and factory farming, built on the sweat and labour of migrant workers.

Food Sovereignty, on the other hand, presents a radical overhaul. It recognizes people and local communities as the principal actors in the fight against poverty and hunger. It calls for strong local communities and defends their right to produce and consume before trading the surplus. It demands autonomy and objective conditions to use local resources, calls for agrarian reform and collective ownership of territories. It defends the rights of peasant communities to use, save, exchange seeds. It stands for the rights of people to eat healthy, nutritious food. It encourages agroecological production cycles, respecting climatic and cultural diversities in every community. Social peace, social justice, gender justice and solidarity economies are essential pre-conditions for realizing food sovereignty. It calls for an international trade order based on cooperation and compassion as against competition and coercion. It calls for a society that rejects discrimination in all forms – caste, class, racial and gender – and urges people to fight patriarchy and parochialism. A tree is only strong as its roots. Food Sovereignty, defined by social movements in the ‘90s and subsequently at the Nyeleni Forum in Mali in 2007, intends to do precisely that.

This year we celebrate 25 years of this collective construction.

The world is nowhere near perfect. Capitalism and free-market ideology continue to dominate policy circles even in the face of unprecedented inequality, rising hunger and extreme poverty. Worse, new attempts are also being made to envision a digital future – of farming without farmers, fishing without fishers- all under the garb of digitalisation of agriculture and to create new markets for synthetic food.

All these challenges notwithstanding, the Food Sovereignty Movement, which is now much more extensive than La Via Campesina and comprises several actors, has made significant advances.

Thanks to our joint struggles, global governance institutions such as the FAO 2 have come to recognize the centrality of peoples’ food sovereignty in international policy-making. The UN Declaration on Rights Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas further re-emphasizes this in Article 15.4, when it states, “ Peasants and other people working in rural areas have the right to determine their own food and agriculture systems, recognized by many States and regions as the right to food sovereignty. This includes the right to participate in decision-making processes on food and agriculture policy and the right to healthy and adequate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods that respect their cultures.”

Some nations have also given constitutional recognition to Food Sovereignty. The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the industrial food chains have further reminded national governments of the importance of creating robust local economies.

Peasant Agroecology, which is fundamental to ensuring food sovereignty in our territories, is now recognized at the FAO as central to our fight against global warming. Current and previous Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations have endorsed food sovereignty as a simple but powerful idea that can transform the global food system favouring small-scale food producers. Sustained campaign by social movements have also resulted in several legal victories against corporations producing agro-toxins, other chemical inputs and transgenic seeds.

Yet, what lies ahead of us is a road ridden with many barriers.

The promoters of the capitalist world order realize that food sovereignty is an idea that impinges on their financial interests. They prefer a world of monoculture and homogenous tastes, where food can be mass-produced using cheap labour in faraway factories, disregarding its ecological, human and social impacts. They prefer economies of scale to robust local economies. They choose a global-free market (based on speculation and cut-throat competition) over solidarity economies that require more robust territorial markets (local peasant markets) and active participation of local food producers. They prefer to have land banks where industrial-scale contract farming would replace small-holder producers. They inject our soil with agro-toxics for better short-term yields, ignoring the irreversible damage to soil health. Their trawlers will again crawl the oceans and rivers, netting fishes for a global market while the coastal communities starve. They will continue to try to hijack indigenous peasant seeds through patents and seed treaties. The trade agreements they craft will again aim to bring down tariffs that protect our local economies.

An exodus of unemployed youth, deserting village farms and choosing wage work in cities, sits perfectly with their urge to find a regular supply of cheap labour. Their unrelenting focus on “margins” would mean that they will find all means to depress farm-gate prices while trading it at higher prices at retail supermarkets. In the end, the ones who lose are the people – both the producers and consumers. Those who resist will be criminalized. A happy co-existence of the global financial elite with authoritarian governments would mean that even the highest institutions – nationally and globally – meant to oversee and arrest human rights violations will look away. Billionaires would use their philanthropic foundations to fund agencies that churn out “research reports” and “scientific journals” to justify this corporate vision of our food systems. Every global governance space, where the social movements and civil society members campaigned hard to gain a seat at the table, will make way for Corporate Conglomerates who will enter the scene as “stakeholders”. Every attempt will be made to deride those of us who defend Food Sovereignty as unscientific, primitive, impractical and idealistic. All this will happen, as it did over the last two decades.

None of this is new to us. Those condemned to the peripheries of our societies by a cruel and all-devouring capitalist system have no choice but to fight back. We must resist and show that we exist. It is not just about our survival, but also about future generations and a way of life handed down through generations. It is for the future of humanity that we defend our food sovereignty.

This is only possible if we insist that any local, national or global policy proposal on food and agriculture must build from the principles of food sovereignty. The young peasants and workers of our worldwide movement must lead this fight. We must remind ourselves that the only way to make our voice heard is by uniting and building new alliances within and across every border. Rural and Urban Social Movements, Trade Unions and civil society actors, progressive governments, academics, scientists and technology enthusiasts must come together to defend this vision for our future. Peasant women and other oppressed gender minorities must find equal space in the leadership of our movement at all levels. We must sow the seeds of solidarity in our communities and address all forms of discrimination that keep rural societies divided.

Food Sovereignty offers a manifesto for the future, a feminist vision that embraces diversity. It is an idea that unites humanity and puts us at the service of Mother Earth that feeds and nourishes us.

In its defence, we stand united.

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Mobilized TV on Free Speech TV  takes a deep look at our world, the consequences of human activity on our planet, and how we can reverse and prevent existing and future crises from occurring. Mobilized reveals life on our planet as a system of systems which all work together for the optimal health of the whole. The show delves into deep conversations with change-makers so people can clearly take concerted actions.

Produced by Steven Jay and hosted by Jeff Van Treese.

Mobilized’s TV series Mobilized TV  premieres on Free Speech TV on Friday, October 15, 2021. All episodes appear:

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January 7, 8, 9, 2022

Leading Environmental Justice Attorney, Thomas Linzey of the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights is a leading force helping communities implement successful rights of nature laws. Find out how your community could take on big business to serve the health of all.

 

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