In Honor of #WorldFoodDay2021 we are celebrating local, diverse, indigenous, and biodiverse foods and food systems and their capacity to regenerate the planet.
Today, we underestimate the extraordinary biodiversity of plants and animals which the peasants of past centuries enjoyed and bred, along with the vast knowledge they had of species and variety. We see this in traditional diets, evolving from these agroecosystem management practices.
These traditional systems show us that food is the currency of life, which flows from the biodiversity in living soil, through plants and animals, to the biodiversity in our gut microbiome. Diversity is the connection between us, the earth, and other species. We are part of the web of life which is a food web.
How we produce, distribute, consume food is increasingly becoming the centre of the multiple crises we face today. Whether it is ecological crises of biodiversity decline, climate change or the multiple health crises of hunger, malnutrition and of diseases like cancer linked to pesticides and toxics in our environment and food chain. These degradations affect every dimension of the food systems upon which we all depend. Especially since natural and organic food systems, and their accompanying diets, that were the foundation of human health throughout the world in most of known human history.
This type of biodiversity-based,agroecological, organic food systems transformation, in opposition to corporate controlled ecologically destructive globalized food systems, has been advocated for by movements throughout the world in the name of food sovereignty. Embodying a different vision of what food systems could be, these movements are already transitioning toward an ecological and democratic food systems transformation through preserving seeds, soils, biodiversity and nutrition. Food can overcome the deep divisions and inequality in society. Food is a human right. Through food we can create just and sustainable communities and societies.
Although most international actors agree that our current food system is broken, not all agree on how the call for ‘food systems transformation’ should go. The recent UN Food Systems Summit has paved the way for the further concentration of food systems into corporate hands, as the main “solutions” proposed during the summit completely ignore local, agroecological, biodiversity-based, and traditional farmers and farming systems.
Instead the UN Food Systems Summit greenwashes corporate technologies such as next-generation GMOs, more pesticides, artificial meat, geoengineering, biofortified crops, precision agriculture and data collection which will inevitably allow for further control over every aspect of the food supply – through the production, distribution, and consumption chain – as has always been sought out by agribusiness.
These ‘game changing’ solutions aim to repair the failures of the industrial food system and, at the same time, are very profitable for the same multinationals who created these failures in the first place.
In short, the system cannot be changed, the logic remains the same, and private interests must not be undermined but, on the contrary, must be supported by public funds.
In Honor of #WorldFoodDay2021, 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.