Watch this 1 minute film promoting the true Global People’s Summit for Just, Equitable, Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems. If you or your organization is interested in joining the #Hungry4Change campaign and Global People’s Summit, drop them a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. For updates, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
An economy of greed
Vandana Shiva’s article, Industrial Ag Is Poisoning the World — and Causing a Global Hunger Pandemic, exposes the true cost of an agricultural system that serves money and power, not people or the planet. Her solutions are inspiring and urgent…
‘In the last few decades, corporate globalization based on deregulation of commerce has facilitated thee spread of an industrial food system. An Industrial globalized food system has become the most significant anthropocentric force, violating planetary boundaries, ecological limits, the integrity of species, cultures, communities. A non-sustainable food system is also an unjust food system, violating the human right to food and health, life and livelihood.
Commodification of food and long-distance globalized supply chains controlled by a handful of corporations have ruptured the relationship between the countryside and the city, increasing the metabolic rift. This has contributed to climate change as a metabolic disorder of Gaia, a self-regulating living organism, and metabolic disorders for people resulting in the explosion of non-communicable chronic diseases.
We are facing an existential emergency.
The multiple life-threatening crises and pandemics we face today including the health pandemic, the hunger pandemic, the poverty and unemployment pandemic, the climate emergency, the extinction emergency, the emergency of injustice, exclusion and inequality, dispossession and disposability of large numbers of humanity are interconnected.
The multiple emergencies are rooted in a world view based on the illusions of separation and superiority, which deny interconnectedness and oneness, an economy of greed which puts profits above life.
All have their roots in the violation of the laws of Pachamama, violation of her planetary boundaries, her ecological limits, her biodiversity.’
Cultivate another future
We can all help stem this destructive onslaught by only buying food from local, sustainable farms where soils are nurtured naturally, and animals are returned to the land, providing fertility as part of the farm crop cycle. On a quarter of the world’s arable land, almost three quarters of the world is fed by small farmers who supply local and regional communities with healthy, wholesome food which has not been contaminated with chemicals and fertilisers, and where the money stays in the local economy, not paid as dividends to distant shareholders. Vandana’s article continues,
‘Local food systems are public health systems.
Local, circular, solidarity food economies can create livelihoods for young people while protecting the health of people and addressing climate change.
People are organizing a “People’s Food Summit” to promote biodiverse, small-scale, local, ecological agriculture to address the multiple crises that industrial globalized agriculture has created.
Ecological agriculture and food production is Earth care. This regenerative work on small farms and cities is the truly green economy. For this we need to ecologize food systems, and shift from the fossil fuel intensive, chemical intensive, capital intensive industrial agriculture model. We need to localize food systems, and shift from the unfair rules of corporate globalization which have destroyed our farms and food cultures and degenerated the health of the planet.
We need to create gardens of hope everywhere, stopping the poisoning of the Earth and our bodies, making a transition from degenerative, non-sustainable, unhealthy food systems to regenerative, sustainable, healthy food systems.
Food can be the connector of the city with its surrounding small farms in a “food shed” that grows healthy, biodiverse, fresh food. Food communities are emerging as the basis for a new food democracy, an Earth democracy.’
Small farms can feed the world
Jonathan Latham’ article debunks the myth that only big-ag can feed the world’s growing population.
It is agribusiness that perpetuates the myth most actively and makes best use of it by endlessly championing itself as the only valid bulwark against starvation. It is agribusiness that most aggressively alleges that all other forms of agriculture are inadequate. This Malthusian spectre is a good story, it’s had a tremendous run but it’s just not true. By exposing it, we can free up agriculture to work for everyone.
If we listened to, and followed, the advice of the above two writers, we would solve all the issues of our broken food system, many of which appear in the news round-up below. However, citizens’ demands for change are incessantly blocked by the wealth and power of giant corporations perpetuating their flawed global economic paradigm of centralised industrial production and exponential growth on a finite planet. When corporate capitalism, and their stooges in government, steal our land and undermine local economies, we are deprived of our self sufficient extended families and cooperative independent communities. To survive we are forced to live and work for these unaccountable giants in an unsustainable and inhumane plastic, concrete and metal jungle megalopoli; seldom able to afford to own our own home or to buy healthy food. While small and medium sized businesses pay their taxes, the multinational corporations avoid them by hiding their profits and they also receive massive government subsidies and pension fund and investor portfolios, so intrinsically outcompete their small scale competitors and drive us towards a dystopian world. This system is promoted by the corporate capitalists’ PR machines, lobbies and media, to ensure we fail to see the obvious; continuing to follow their rules of being the cheap labour and insatiable consumers of their industrial system, will end human life on earth. When Native American indigenous communities came into contact with European colonists, they said that they were infected by Wetiko; a cannibalistic spirit that is driven by greed, excess, and selfish consumption.
‘What if we told you that humanity is being driven to the brink of extinction by an illness? That all the poverty, the climate devastation, the perpetual war, and consumption fetishism we see all around us have roots in a mass psychological infection? What if we went on to say that this infection is not just highly communicable but also self-replicating, according to the laws of cultural evolution, and that it remains so clandestine in our psyches that most hosts will, as a condition of their infected state, vehemently deny that they are infected? What if we then told you that this ‘mind virus’ can be described as a form of cannibalism. Yes, cannibalism. Not necessarily in the literal flesh-eating sense but rather the idea of consuming others – human and non-human – as a means of securing personal wealth and supremacy.’
Our existential wake up call is now, or earth will reject us.
🚛 Live animal transport: Government introduces rules on shorter journey times and warmer temperatures.
‘The proposals mean that animals will have more headroom, shorter journey times and that tighter restrictions will be in place on moving animals during extreme hot or cold temperatures. The rules are being introduced alongside a ban on live animal exports for slaughter, which is currently going through Parliament as part of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill. More than a billion animals are farmed in the UK each year, many of which are transported within the country for slaughter, fattening and breeding.’
Patrick Holden, CEO and founder of the Sustainable Food Trust, called for the government to go even further by boosting the numbers of small, local abattoirs across the UK that can supply the local farmers in their area.
“While we welcome the move, if we really want to respond to growing consumer demand, the government needs to go even further for all livestock and set a target of a maximum two-hour journey time to slaughter. Not only would this vastly improve animal welfare, it would create the conditions for a renaissance in local and ethical meat production and consumption”.
☣️ 🐝 The Use of Toxic Pesticides in Farming is the Biggest Problem for Bees … and Us!
‘A groundbreaking new meta-analysis on the impacts on bees of a combination of real life environmental pressures has confirmed that the cocktails of toxic pesticides bees are exposed to from intensive conventional farming significantly increases bee mortality.’
🐖🐖🐖 Backlog of thousands of pigs is building up on East Anglian farms due to labour shortages at meat processing factories, said industry leaders.
‘With major meat processors reporting a 15-25pc drop in their capacity, pigs are backing up on farms – gaining more weight than their contracted specifications, and adding to the cost and manpower required to keep them healthy and avoid welfare problems.’
🐟 Devolved powers from Brexit could allow the Scottish Government to stop Swedish and Danish boats hoovering up sand eel and small fish to feed industrial factory farm pigs while harming vulnerable seabird colonies.
The RSPB has warned fishing pressure is helping to drive seabird populations to “breaking point” in the area around the Forth and Tay. They include kittiwakes, puffins and gannets.
🥩 Synthetic meat substitutes are being met with a sobering reality check,
‘……..pseudo-animal foods are so often seen nestling amongst the yellow-sticker reductions on supermarket shelves. Food manufacturers’ crude and unconvincing attempts to turn ultra-processed protein powders and chemical additives into something that passes muster as a realistic substitute for meat, dairy, or eggs, are hitting the skids at the checkout’
🇳🇿 New Zealand petition urging the Government to apply the same animal welfare standards to imported pork as those required by New Zealand pork producers.
‘About 60 percent of pork consumed in New Zealand is imported, the majority coming from countries whose production practices would be illegal in New Zealand.’
🐣 France and Germany to ban male chick culling from 2022.
‘France is to join Germany in a ban on the culling of male chicks from 2022 and try to persuade the rest of the European Union to follow their example.’
🇺🇸 🗳 California voted to improve pig welfare. The pork industry is facing a reckoning.
‘As of January 2022, California prohibits the sale of meat produced anywhere in the U.S. from pigs whose mothers were kept in gestation crates and from calves who have been confined in veal crates. The initiative—nearly identical to one Massachusetts passed in 2016—also bans the sale of eggs laid by caged hens.’
☣️ EPA to Ban Use of Pesticide Chlorpyrifos on all food crops.
‘Chlorpyrifos, a highly effective insecticide, is widely used in American agriculture, especially for cotton, fruit and nut trees, as well as row crops like corn and (to a lesser extent) soy. It has also been banned in many countries for toxicity concerns, and the past three American presidents have wrestled with the question of what to do with it.’
🏭 Cheap meat comes at a price
‘The increasing economic power of multinational pork packers has made it increasingly difficult for independent and contract pig farmers to survive.’
🇨🇦 British Columbia – ‘Stop the Spray’ protest to release maps of Glyphosate use
‘“The Ministry of Environment has these maps and we requested of them to provide the maps,” says James Steidle, rally organizer. “They’ve provided them in the past but not this year. ” He says people have the right to know where the herbicide is being sprayed. But, he still doesn’t believe the average person knows what’s happening.
Forgive me for pointing out that, while we receive some one-off donations, I am funding Farms Not Factories myself, and if we are to continue to fight the cruel, antibiotic-led factory farm system, we will need some regular donations from like-minded people. Please consider a monthly subscription of £2/month and help us support a network of smaller scale, humane and healthy UK pig farms, local abattoirs and butchers.
“Our message is simple, we want to help bring an end to this dangerous, inhumane system. Vote for real farming over factory farming.”
– Tracy Worcester, Director