In collaboration with Friends of Navdanya and Becket Films (The Seeds of Vandana Shiva), Dr Vandana Shiva, president of Navdanya International launched the Food for Health Manifesto in Santa Barbara, California, on 12 May 2019.
The Manifesto asserts that health, starting with the soil, to plants, animals and humans must be the organizing principle and aim of agriculture, commerce, science, of international trade, of our lives. For this to become a reality, convergence between consumers, producers and stakeholders must be created for a shared and common vision of sustainable development in line with the Millenium Development Goals.
In 2018, Navdanya International convened a Working Group of Experts, in continuation of the work of the International Commission on Future of Food and Agriculture, for a 2-day gathering in Florence to brainstorm ideas and streamline the vision and concept structure. Contributions and inputs of the participants provided the basis for the drafting of the Manifesto, which was first presented in Italy in September 2018 (Italian edition).
Members of the Group of Experts, Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Richard Falk, Professor of International Law Emeritus at Princeton University, along with Mary Jacobs, Friends of Navdanya USA, joined Dr Vandana Shiva at the California launch event.
The Manifesto on Food for Health offers scientific evidence, sustained by more than 200 bibliographical references to scientific studies and papers, on the inseparable link between the way our food is produced and our health. It aims at raising the alarm about the high chemical input in agriculture and food production that industrial agriculture and the Poison Cartel are spreading around the world, the harm it is causing to the health of people and the planet, and showing the way for the needed systems change towards a sustainable, agroecological and healthy future. It advocates the need for a new paradigm, a new way of thinking about health which is ecologically centered, a new paradigm based on systems thinking and not mechanistic reductionism, recognizing that the health of the earth and people’s health are inextricably linked and one continuum. The Food for Health Manifesto aims at helping strengthen the food and health movements as a whole by creating dynamic synergy between the movements for Sustainable Agriculture and Public Health and between consumers, producers and stakeholders.
The ecological paradigm of agriculture, food, nutrition and health recognises the complex living processes within nature and within our bodies, and between nature, other species and humans, as we are part of nature, not separate from her. It is based on a systems approach that is displacing the current experiences and trends toward degradation with policies, practices, and knowledge that ensures renewal, a revived reliance on the health potentialities of the natural food systems, working toward harmony with nature, food sovereignty and seed resilience in the hands of farmers, including a mindfulness of the environmental impacts of food systems.
Alternatives do exist and are based on regenerating the health of the earth through agro-ecology, conservation of biodiversity, promotion of local economies and food systems “from field to table”.
The health of the planet and the health of the people are one. The right to health can be realised only if the right to good nutrition is recognised, respected and realised. It is possible to create good health through good nutrition. For this we have to transform our food systems. This task is pivotal for not only for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 but for ensuring human and planetary health in a sustainable manner over a longer future.
The Manifesto gave rise to the launch of our campaing Poison Free Food and Farming 2030 – an invitation to women and young generations, citizens and people in institutions, indigenous people everywhere, farmers, producers and consumers of food, local communities north and south, from the local to the global, who are already mobilizing to defend the earth and future generations, to create a unified movement for change.
By Dr Vandana Shiva, 22 May 2018
Vandana Shiva in Florence for a Manifesto against Agrotoxics: “The Health of the Planet and the People are one”
By Manlio Masucci, Navdanya International, 14 May 2018