While everyone has agreed that a transformation of our food systems has become an imperative, we are seeing a corporate co-option of this necessary transformation to push for further concentration of industrial agriculture systems through digitalization, financialization and the imposition of destructive technologies. But what is also clear is that resistance to this co-option and the recognition of the interconnection between planetary well-being and human well-being is gaining strength by the day: from the path towards making of Ecocide a international crime, to the referencing in her opening speak the Rights of Mother Earth by the indigenous President of the Chilean Constitutional Convention, to all of the small but deeply transformative local, ecological initiatives happening all over the world.
The urgent need to transition from industrial monoculture, GMOs and pesticides-based systems to biodiversity intensive agroecology based on the principles of Earth Democracy has become a survival imperative. This includes a transition away from the hijacked food systems transformation proposed by the UN Food Systems Summit and COP26 in 2021, which actively sidelines real root solutions, food justice, the human rights of indigenous people, small farmers and most importantly Nature’s Rights.
The false solutions proposed by corporate actors represented in the UNFSS and COP26 do not offer the paradigm shift and holistic approach that is so urgently needed to achieve food sovereignty and climate resilience. Instead what is needed is the practice of biodiversity-based agroecology and its active recognition and fostering of the rights of a living Earth and her biodiversity, in defence of the laws of the seed, soil, water and food.
The push for food without farmers, and farming without the Earth, represents the agenda of the next corporate takeover of food systems in the final elimination of real farming through digital agriculture, and elimination Real Food through lab-made synthetic foods. An agenda being pushed through corporate aligned, false climate-change policies to eliminate animal agriculture, vertically integrate supply chains and digitalization. The industrial, monocultural farm will now find its use in providing previously inedible, unpopular commodity crops as raw materials for lab-made foods.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, headlines have been dominated by the warnings of risk in global food supply shortages and rising global food prices, all due to the conflict. But, according to many international groups, there is currently no risk of global food supply shortages. So why are so many countries now facing an increased risk of food insecurity, and in worst cases famine?
What is crucially being overlooked by most diagnoses of the current food crisis is how the problem does not lie in a lack of supply, or lack of market integration, but instead in how the food system is structured around power.
Detailed in this report by Navdanya International, is how, in fact, we have already been facing a food and malnutrition crisis long before the current conflict.
THE CORPORATE PUSH FOR SYNTHETIC FOODS: FALSE SOLUTIONS THAT ENDANGER OUR HEALTH AND DAMAGE THE PLANET
Thanks to recent advances in synthetic biology and AI, a wide array of synthetic foods have begun to flood the market. These include plant-based meat and dairy alternatives that use genetic engineering to reconfigure an organism’s internal DNA to create something not found in nature, and cell-cultured products made from real animal cells. These products represent a new line of ultra-processed foods that seek to imitate and replace animal products, food additives and socially-conflictive ingredients. Disguised as sustainable meat and dairy alternatives, they are marketed to appeal to a new generation of eco-aware consumers that have grown displeased by the grim realities of the livestock industry.
But are synthetic foods truly an ecological solution or simply the latest greenwashing ploy by the same multinationals? A further look reveals that even though these products market themselves as ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘healthy’ they do little to address the root problems of industrial agriculture and its environmental and health consequences. Consequences that can be largely blamed on the same businessmen who today finance the development of this biotech industry. These products represent a new means to consolidate even more power and profit into the hands of a few food giants without facing the implications of ecological devastation, worsening human health, and exacerbated climate change. As such, the ‘plant-based’ label means very little if it is based on industrial models, monocultures, GMOs and other chemically intensive agricultural practices that are destroying the planet.
Hope does not lie in pursuing technological innovations that see nature as a dead and unimprovable technology, but in participating and rejuvenating the earth’s natural processes. When we farm with real knowledge of how to care for the Earth, eat real food which nourishes the biodiversity of the Earth, our guts and our cultures, we are then participating in real and living processes that regenerate the well-being of all.
We call for the recognition of the urgent need to resist this new corporate push, and join us in the transition to a biodiversity-based agroecological food system and its active recognition and fostering of the rights of a living Earth. The future is led by small farmers, and local communities already implementing these diverse systems which preserve and rejuvenate soil, plants, animals and humans.
The UNFSS does not offer the paradigm shift that is so urgently needed to achieve food sovereignty, climate resilience and a more just food system. On the contrary, it maintains the same power structure as this summit is yet another instrument to reinforce corporate control over food and agriculture, while attempting to restrain civil society’s role in global food governance, directly leading to the further colonization of indigenous foods and diets.
Corporations are using the summit to convince us that their solutions will be ecological enough to keep the current system of interests intact. The system cannot be changed, the logic remains the same, private interests must not be undermined but, on the contrary, must be supported by public funds. Principle examples are the solutions advocated for in Action Track One and Two- where behind the language of the necessity of a shift in global diets, the corporate stakeholders who have hijacked the UNFSS have created a trojan horse for industrial, ultra (ultra)-processed fake foods and a further industrialized food system.
But It is high time to hold corporations responsible for their actions, and to advocate for a genuine transition to an agroecological paradigm which considers biodiversity and cultural diversity, local food economies and regenerating the planet as central to any kind of food systems transformation. In response to this corporate hijacking of global food systems, grassroots organizations from all over the world seeking real, agroecological change, have mobilized a counter-summit to show what real food systems transformation should look like. Read more
Navdanya, Mother Earth Day 2021.
Author: Dr Vandana Shiva and Navdanya Team.
While the consciousness of the Earth as living, the awareness of the Rights of Mother Earth, and the movement of environment justice is growing, the dominant system is extending and deepening the false assumptions of Ecological and Human apartheid and Anthropocentrism. The 1 % is offering the disease as the cure.
In an ecologically interconnected world, denial of the rights of nature translates into denial of human rights. Denial of nature ‘s rights leads to destruction of nature and a threat to the very conditions of human survival. The same constructs that lead to violence against nature and her destruction become the basis of violence against fellow human beings.
Based on: Earth Democracy: Connecting the Rights of Mother Earth to People’s Rights and the Well-being of All , Navdanya 2021 – here above. Author: Dr Vandana Shiva with Navdanya Team.
The emergencies that threaten the very future of our species cannot be addressed by the same mindset that created them. The current corporate hijacking of the transformation of food systems, epitomized through the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit is an example of the same mindset proposing solutions to the problems caused by it. A lack of acknowledgement of the necessity for Earth Rights in conjunction with people’s rights risks the continuation of these structures of separation and a greater accumulation, acceleration and augmentation of these crises. We need a new way of thinking and living that recognizes the principles of Earth Democracy so humans and other species can continue to live and thrive. Read more
This conversation, hosted by Navdanya International, brought together Dr. Vandana Shiva, President of Navdanya International; Nnimmo Bassey: director of Nigerian think-tank, Health of Mother Earth Foundation; Marie Toussaint, Member of the EU Parliament, founder and former president of the association Notre affaire à tous; Jojo Mehta, key spokesperson and Executive Director of Stop Ecocide International; Fernando Cabaleiro, Attorney at Law (University of Buenos Aires), founder of Naturaleza de Derechos, Argentina, who exchanged views on the common thread that links Human Rights to the Rights of the Earth and how ecological actions grounded in both human and earth rights ensure the maintenance of the web of life. Globalization and corporate capitalism are characterized by the paradigm of separation and fragmentation, leading to a one-way extraction from nature and society that seeks only profit and leaves no room for cooperation, while sidelining ethical, cultural, and spiritual values and causing the crisis of Ecocide. Our common survival now demands a unification of ecological actions towards living economies, living democracies, and a food and agriculture system that sustain life on earth. Read more
By Dr Vandana Shiva: “And even as industrial agriculture brings the planet and our economies to collapse, corporations and billionaires are hijacking the food system by capturing the Food Summit. The Poison Cartel and Big Tech are joining hands to push the failed model on a fast forward, destroying democratic structures from local to global levels. The toxic future they are promoting is based on more chemicalisation and more GMOs, more mechanisation and driverless tractors, Digital Agriculture, surveillance drones, robots and spyware.” Read more
By Fernando Cabaleiro – Naturaleza De Derechos: “We are part of the civil society in the exercise of a participative and direct community democracy, which we see in small communities. And we have begun to understand and value as a legacy, the cosmovision of life and nature of the native peoples, that identify themselves as the guardians of the goods of nature, bearing in mind the rights of future generations.” Read more
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The industrial globalised food systems is an extractive economy – destroying small farmers, contributing to hunger, disease pandemic & climate change but regenerative biodiverse circular food system nourish people & planet.@drvandanashiva pic.twitter.com/EHfhAofemE
— Navdanya (@NavdanyaBija) July 15, 2021
Today’s bonus episode features an amazing talk from @drvandanashiva about how the mind contributes to many of the world’s current emergencies, including health, poverty, climate, & inequality—and how recognizing interconnection is necessary to solve them.https://t.co/dObNEMYkhM
— Mind & Life Podcast (@mindandlifecast) August 13, 2021