By Dr Vandana Shiva
A new report from EAT seems to suggest that “plant based diets “ will protect the health of the planet and of people, evading the glaring chronic disease epidemic related to pesticides and toxics in food, imposed by chemically intensive industrial agriculture and food systems.
Toxics is the elephant in the planetary and human health room that the report glosses over. More than a century after Silent Spring, more than 34 years after the Bhopal genocide, a year after the UN rapporteur on food put out her report on pesticides, a few months after Johnson’s trial that established that Roundup is a carcinogen, the report fails to highlight that toxics are driving species to extinction and have led to an epidemic of cancers, neurological problems, endocrine disruption, and infertility. The Navdanya International manifesto on Food for Health written by leading health experts and ecologists has identified toxics as the leading cause for the disease epidemic.
Eat has a partnership through FrESH with the junk food industry, and Big Ag such as Bayer, BASF, Cargil, Pepsico amongst others.
“FReSH seeks to develop, implement and scale business solutions that deliver on science-based targets for healthier and more sustainable diets.”
This Poison Cartel of companies have together contributed up to 50% Green house gases leading to climate change, and the chronic disease epidemic related to chemicals in food, loss in diversity in the diet, industrially processed junk food, and fake food.
We could call the report “The diet of YARA and the Poison Cartel “. Yara is the biggest chemical fertliser corporation in the world. The use of synthetic fossil fuel based nitrogen fertilisers is a major contributor to the climate crisis, dead zones, and the death of soils. Instead of recognising the role of organic farming and agroecology for providing sustainable ways for repairing the broken nitrogen cycle, the report recommends “redistribution of global use of nitrogen and phosphorus” which in effect is saying chemicals should be spread in the Third World – and, ” Many developed nations apply nitrogen in excess, with rates of nitrogen application exceeding those needed to obtain yields. By contrast, many developing countries have yields that are only a half to a quarter of those that could be obtained with appropriately increased and well-timed applications of fertiliser… In deficit areas, additional nitrogen input to increase crop yield is possible without negatively affecting the environment.”
We do not need global redistribution of unnecessary chemicals that are destroying the planet . This is what the GATES foundation AGRA is also doing. We have scientifically proven effectiveness of organic faming in rebuilding soil health.
Navdanya’s 20 year study in Doon Valley comparing chemical and organic farms shows that we can get rid of chemical fertilisers, not redistribute them. There are also multiple studies that show that chemical fertilisers do not merely destroy soil health, they also deplete the nutrients in food. A British meta study covering more than 400 studies has found that organic foods can have up to 60% more beneficial nutrients than chemically produced food.
Scientific research favours the superiority of organic food over conventional food in many aspects. The quality of protein in organic food is better than that in conventional food. Organic food has greater amounts of minerals and vitamins than conventional food. Donald R. Davis et al., conducted a research to evaluate possible changes in USDA nutrient content data for 43 garden crops between 1950 and 1999 and found that the 43 foods showed declines (ranging from 6% for protein to 38% for riboflavin) for 6 nutrients – protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin, ascorbic acid. They concluded, “We hypothesize that Mayer’s and our findings of overall nutrient declines may result importantly from decades of selecting food crops for high yield, with resulting inadvertent trade-offs reduced nutrient concentrations.” Paolo Bergamo et al., found significantly higher healthy fatty acid and fat soluble vitamins in organic milk and dairy products. Virginia Worthington performed a similar research, comparing nutrient content of organic and conventional foods; she found decline in nutrition of crops in US and UK in the previous sixty five years, where sixty years before food was grown more naturally.
Table 2: Showing effect of continuous farming on Soil under Organic and Chemical mode
The report is yet another doomed attempt at “sustaining” the chemical industry through unscientific promotion of “Sustainable intensification” and Precision Agriculture. “The current global food system requires a new agricultural revolution that is based on “sustainable intensification” and driven by sustainability and system innovation. This would entail at least a 75% reduction of yield gaps on current cropland, radical improvements in fertilizer use”. https://seedfreedom.info/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/The-Future-of-Our-Daily-Bread-_-LowRes-_-19-11-2018-REVISED.pdf
The report wants a shift to healthy diets without a shift in the chemical agriculture paradigm which is at the root of the destruction of the planet’s soil, water, biodiversity and climate, as well as the spread of chronic diseases.
It continues to focus on “yield” – a measure evolved for industrial agriculture based on chemicals to produce nutritionally empty toxic commodities. The report seems to be deliberately trying to divert attention from chemical free agriculture and agroecology which have now been recognised as the paradigm for the future.
In Navdanya we have changed the metric from “yield per acre to “nutrition per acre”. We can feed two India’s with biodiversity intensification and chemical free farming (Health per Acre http://www.navdanya.org/attachments/Health%20Per%20Acre.pdf).
Nearly a sixth of the world’s population depends on livestock for livelihoods. Pastoralists are sustained by and sustain drylands. Animals are at the heart of sustainable food systems. Integration of crops, trees, animals is what allows recycling of nutrients, and freedom from chemicals. The central role of animals in diverse agro-ecological systems for both soil fertility renewal and in renewable energy must be emphasized in any search for sustainable food systems that free us from fossil fuels and toxics. Let us not forget that life would be impossible for desert tribes without the camel, or without the yak in the high Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau.
Factory farming is the primary cause of greenhouse gas emissions. Free range animals are not contributing to climate change. We cannot equate factory farming which are animal prisons with sustainable and humane livestock economies across the world in which animals are members of an extended family.
Our Bread is our Freedom
The Poison Cartel which is killing people, our bees and pollinators and our gut micro-biome, now wants to kill our healthy, local, biodiverse food cultures. This smacks of food colonisation and imperialism. Calling it “impatient disruption” cannot hide the fact that it violates the fundamental tenets and principles of diversity and democracy on which both freedom and sustainability rest. https://www.navdanyainternational.it/en/campaigns-navdanya-international/566-food-for-health
Those who have contributed to the planetary collapse and collapse of our well being have joined hands to force feed us hyper-industrial toxic diets in the name of protecting our health and saving the planet and the destruction of our local foods.
Food is the web of life. Food is us. Food is our culture. So far, destruction of our local foods by the Poison Cartel was a side effect of the transformation of agriculture to adapt to chemicals. Now the Poison Cartel is directly assaulting the most intimate part of our culture/being, personally and collectively. We say to them, “Hands off our Food”. http://www.navdanya.org/site/latest-news-at-navdanya/606-annam-food-as-health
Colonisation of our daily bread through doublespeak has no place in movements which are regenerating people’s health, the health of the Planet and Food Democracy.
We can feed the world and protect the planet by getting rid of fossil fuels and chemicals .
That is why we have started the campaign for Poison Free Food and Farming 2050. Join us.
By Johanna Blythman – Wicked Leaks Riverford, 29 January 2019