Retrospect: A blog on Food

The EAAA supports the emergence of a bottom up approach to food distribution and sale. The emergence of farmer markets and community-supported-agriculture meets our expectations. At the opposite end of the spectrum we have the gigantic monopolies of Coles and Woolworths or better known as Wesfarmers and Woolworths. Mostly we don’t think too much about the impact they have on life and most Australian simply get on with it in whatever way that might mean.  In fact in reality mostly we are too busy in day-to-day existence to worry about the downside of Woolies and Coles.  Well perhaps it is time to worry about it as the following video portrays. Take a look and if you have any suggestion please comment below or email Kerry Cochrane.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1et_HBmLYw

 

Alternatives do exist of course. We can go to the farmer markets every weekend and some towns such as Orange do have shops that trade in local produce only. In Orange it is called Totally Local.

In Sydney there is the Sydney Food Fairness movement activity that can be located at the following address:

http://mail.sydneyfoodfairness.org.au/mailman/listinfo/sffa_sydneyfoodfairness.org.au

Somewhat aligned with this are moves to create a Food Sovereignty Association. A meeting was held in Sydney in February to brainstorm the possibility of an association and it drew strong support from people who are concerned about food distribution being controlled in Australia by the ‘big two’. If you see the Youtube video you will understand their concern.

Double food production with agroecological farming 

One of the principal arguments used by GM technology supporters is the need to use GM to ensure that there is enough food to feed a population projected to reach 9 billion. The following news release challenges this assertion and assures that agroecology is sufficient in itself without resorting to potentially risky outcomes via GM technology.

A United Nations report published March 8 2011 tells how: Agroecological farming can double food production within 10 years, while mitigating climate change and alleviating poverty. The annual report to the UN’s Human Rights Council, by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier de Schutter, urges policy support for and investments in agroecology. For further discussion of agroecology see: http://www.panna.org/science/agroecology

Download De Schutter’s 20-page report, where compelling evidence is presented, from: http://www.srfood.org/index.php/en/component/content/article/1-latest-news/1174-report-agroecology-and-the-right-to-food

Summary of the evidence

To feed 9 billion people in 2050, we must urgently adopt the most efficient farm systems and techniques. Scientific evidence shows that agroecological methods outperform chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where most of the hungry people live — especially in harsh environments.

Agroecology will raise productivity at the farm level, concludes the report, and also help farmers adapt to and mitigate climate change, conserve biodiversity and promote soil health. It can also create jobs, increase incomes, diversify diets, improve nutrition, and bring farmers and communities together.

We cannot continue with resource intense industrial agriculture that will increasingly rely on scarce and costly inputs, contributes to climate change, and is not resilient to climatic shocks. It is not the best choice as oil and phosphates are depleted and the climate changes.

Evidence in favour of agroecological farming, by contrast, is very solid. De Schutter says a large segment of the scientific community now agrees that agroecology has positive impacts on food production, poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation — and this is what is needed in a world of limited resources.

Agroecological projects have shown an average crop yield increase of 80% in 57 developing countries, with an average increase of 116% in all African projects. Recent projects conducted in 20 African countries showed a doubling of crop yields over a period of 3-10 years.

Kerry Cochrane

President, EAAA

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