Saturday, April 26, 2008

. . . and food sovereignty

I don’t read the news very often, it’s always the same. But I do read certain things, and read recently that food riots are on the increase. Food is becoming more expensive. Globally small farmers are failing through food hoarding, bad harvests and food ‘aide’. For a much better explanation than I can give read it yourself: . It’s like that concept, you don’t give a man a fish, you give him a boat and clean water and teach him how to raise fish. I think I may have added to the concept there, but you get the idea. Remember when there was that big outcry in the 80s when Nestle was giving powdered milk to mothers in African nations and telling them it was better than breast milk? This seems to me the same thing but on an even larger and more catastrophic scale. My best source of information for growing vegetables in the tropics is a series of pamphlets issued by the Health Department in the south pacific islands. There are actually graphs comparing the nutritive value of a bag of cheetos to a half cup of cooked pumpkin. At some point I would like to work in the field of agricultural education. For now all the gardeners in the world, all of us planting seeds – hopefully organic and even more hopefully seeds we saved ourselves or got from friends, and hopefully heirloom seeds, not to be nostalgic but for diversity and increasing the gene pool rather than shrinking it – we are doing a tiny tiny bit to keep the world sane and green. It would be nice if we were also able to support subsistence and small farms on a global scale. How to do it? I don’t know: boycott the big chemical/seed internationals, the Monsantos and ADMs and Cargills of the world? Share seeds and ideas with other gardeners? Work with local schools on agricultural awareness and earth sensitivity? Look at the labels on your staples – cereals, legumes, coffee and be conscious of where and how these things are grown? Write to MPS and local government? Write to the big charities and ask them what their stance is on agriculture? Support charities like which give aide through donating animals and education to those in need? Think, question, be conscious. All food sovereignty is, is the right and freedom to grow food. It’s so simple.