Launching a new Growing Together Booklet: Pathways to a Fair Food System in Ireland
Posted by Deirdre Duff on September 30, 2020 at 12:21 PM
There are sustainable and unsustainable ways to produce food. Likewise, there are just and unjust food systems. Today, there are huge inequalities and power imbalances in the food system, for example between large agri-businesses and small independent food producers.
Our Growing Together agri-activists have been busy researching and interviewing farmers around the country and have curated the latest research to establish a path to a more sustainable food system for Ireland.
Their new booklet, “Growing Together: Pathways to a Fair Food System in Ireland” explores the environmental and social inequities of our food system, shines a light on the impact of COVID-19 and outlines the potential that the concept of food sovereignty has to make our food system more ecologically and socially just.
According to the Nyéleni declaration of 2007, food sovereignty can be defined 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."
Food sovereignty not only puts ecological sustainability at the heart of the food system, but also ensures that social and cultural equity is at its core. In considering food sovereignty we need to examine the impact of the food system on the environment and on the social fabric of communities where it is produced and consumed. A key question in this regard is whether or not the food system promotes local and traditional food cultures, and how the needs of minorities in a society have their distinct food needs met. For example, in an Irish context, the system of Direct Provision for asylum seekers is often criticised for not providing the facilities for residents to cook their own food, while the limited state support within the system makes it economically difficult for asylum seekers to exercise freedom regarding their dietary choices. Also of critical importance are the actors that have a say in the design of policies and laws which shape our food system.
This booklet will outline the major environmental and social issues pertaining to our food system and will go on to suggest practical ways in which our food system can become more democratic, environmentally sustainable and economically viable for small farmers and food producers.
You can read the booklet in English here and in Irish here.
This booklet was co-funded by Erasmus and the European Union
About Growing Together Ireland
Growing Together is a cross European project which aims to provide a voice for young people, particularly those from rural areas, to engage with crucial debates on the future of food production, and the wider debates on the future of Europe. The aim of the project is to support young activists and farmers to build skills and take action on issues relating to food and agriculture.