In Santa Cruz, California for the past year, a struggle has been brewing over the survival of a community garden. Although insignificant in the larger scheme of things, this small campaign has much to teach us about the way different forms of injustice converge, about the relationships among different forces within US cities in the 21st century, and about how to and how not to build a campaign to fight the environmental racism in our midst.
Input-intensive crop monocultures and industrial-scale feedlots must be consigned to the past in order to put global food systems onto sustainable footing, according to the world’s foremost experts on food security, agro-ecosystems and nutrition.
The solution is to diversify agriculture and reorient it around ecological practices, whether the starting point is highly-industrialized agriculture or subsistence farming in the world’s poorest countries, the experts argue in this report.
In 2016, 240 million people across 45 low-income and/or conflict-affected countries are assessed as being in a 'food stress' situation. Within this number, 80 million people are in the more serious condition of "food crisis" with 41.7 million being located in countries affected by El Niño.
I participated in La Vía Campesina’s international delegation to the United Nations climate meeting (COP21) in Paris, France, from December 5 to 12, 2015. It was evident that social movement activism is helping us move swiftly and peacefully away from fossil capitalism, with its climate crises, and toward a new social order that prioritizes food and energy sovereignty.
The activism in Paris emphasized three key themes:
(1) social movements are focused on system change and not on ‘green’ capitalist reform;
The power of food systems is concentrated in few hands, and this narrow control over seeds, food production, and processing creates a disconnect between consumers and their food with repercussions for maintaining cultural knowledge and skills, local connections, and local economies as well, Friends of the Earth Europe states.
But in places across Europe, communities are coming together to show that another way—a better way—is possible.
Record-breaking heat waves, long-term drought, “100-year floods” in consecutive years, and increasingly extreme superstorms are becoming the new normal. The planet is now facing an unprecedented era of accelerating and intensifying global climate change, with negative impacts already being widely felt. While global climate change will impact nearly everyone and everything, the greatest impact is already being felt by farmers and anyone who eats food.
For millennia, the practice of saving and exchanging seeds has been fundamental to crop production in farming communities across the globe. Now, faced with a growing push on the part of governments and corporate agribusiness to limit this practice and thus threaten the food sovereignty of millions, farmers worldwide are fighting back.
From humanitarian and ecological viewpoints, many aspects of the capitalist economic system are irrational; although they are certainly rational from the more limited standpoint of the individual business or capitalist seeking to make profits. For example, because most people lack their own means to produce an income, they must sell their labor power to companies, which in turn must normally pay a high enough wage for the reproduction of workers and their families.