Join us for a webinar on the future of food!
Posted by Meaghan Carmody on April 28, 2020 at 03:13 PM
Globally, and within Ireland, there are many injustices built into our food system.Join us for a webinar to discuss these dynamics - and solutions- on Wednesday May 6th at 2pm EST / 7pm GMT / 8pm CET.
We’ll be joined by speakers from Irish Seed Savers, Foodture, and Talamh Beo. This will be an engaging session to relate the practical work that organisations are doingaround food in Ireland with global justice issues.
Corporate Capture of Common Goods
Corporate control of seeds is an issue that has affected many farmers across the world and has resulted in devastating impacts in the Global South. Varieties of vegetables, fruits, medicinal and other useful plants have been bred by growers for centuries to suit local growing conditions and people’s needs. When transnational corporations like Monsanto and Bayer then patent those varieties, it is tantamount to theft of common public goods. Growers then have little choice but to purchase seeds from these corporations, often requiring added chemical inputs - putting growers’ health at risk and indebting them, and creating a dynamic where agriculture becomes industrialised and crops are grown in monocultures. This injustice is only further amplified by the trading of essential foodstuffs on commodity futures markets.
Globally, a third of food is wasted. In the Global North, a large part of this is thrown out by consumers. In the Global South, it’s largely because of a lack of infrastructure to transport food from farms to market efficiently. And in 2020, we still have hunger in the world. This already dire situation is aggravated by COVID-19 quarantines, as people who survive in the informal economy can no longer work and are facing hunger and economic recession. The World Food Programme predicts that the number of people facing hunger in 2020 will double.
Industrial agriculture is a huge driver of climate change because of the need for fossil fuel inputs in the form of nitrogen fertiliser, & fuel for machinery and the release of methane from large-scale cattle farming. Deforestation driven by industrial agriculture was one of the principal reasons for the Amazon fires last year.
Since the “Green Revolution” of the 50s and 60s, agriculture has increased in scale and become more industrial in the Global North. Along with this, agricultural workers are increasingly from migrant communities - with little work options and difficult circumstances in their own countries, people migrate to work on farms in Western Europe and the United States, where they face exploitative and often unhealthy conditions. This unjust dynamic became more visible in Ireland recently under the Covid-19 shutdown.
Given these injustices - and others - in the dominant global food production and consumption structure, it is imperative that we organise at a grassroots level to produce food locally and connect food growers to consumers. The three organisations invited to this webinar work at different points along the chain of grassroots food production:
- bio-diverse and heritage seeds,
- farming and growing in a model that is integrated with land, nature, and people’s needs,
- and connecting consumers with local, fair food producers.
The webinar format will be a panel discussion with a short Q & A. Register to join us!