Governments are beginning to recognise the urgent need to transform our food systems. This has been made even more pressing by the current health and economic crisis caused by the COVID pandemic. Currently, there are good but rather scattered examples of governments around the world that have been developing conducive and innovative policies aimed at introducing and implementing agroecological and resilient principles.
Join three leading policymakers from three different countries (India, Denmark and Uganda) as they explain the good policy practices they are helping to put in place, which make possible the long-term transformation of the food and agricultural systems of their countries. Chaired by IFOAM – Organics International, our speakers will explore the key entry points and drivers of transformational policies including the multifaceted crisis, climate change, health, and environmental pressures.
We will hear from Prof. Rajeshwar Singh Chandel, a member of the Himachal Pradesh Government of India, about their initiative to turn the food systems of the entire state into a sustainable one, from Mr. Alex Lwakuba of the Ugandan Government about their brand-new policy on organic and from Paul Holmbeck, the Director of Holmbeck Eco-Consult on how their countries consumers became the most pro-organic ones in the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent crises, as a result of lockdowns, have exposed the fractures of human societies’ relationship with nature. In a world dominated by capitalist globalisation, these crises are not blips or anomalies that require a few tweaks to make the system a little more sustainable. No, it is a forceful reflection of processes that engender the economic, ecological and social crises that already existed.
Key international forums and publications are focusing during this critical juncture on identifying drivers of biodiversity loss and climate change, and powerful forces are rallying to advance false solutions that ensure powerful economic actors maintain their profit-making while pretending to preserve nature.The tragic story of the Ebola outbreaks in Central Africa and the DRC in particular, cannot be told apart from interconnections between resource extraction and exploitation, ecological collapse, precarious livelihoods, financialisation and crippling indebtedness.
In this session, the panel will discuss how the relationship between ecological disturbance and human health has been shaped by distorted logics of austerity, profiteering and financialisation of human life and death, shaped largely by the pressures of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. They will highlight how the collaboration between big Northern based conservation groups, industry and governments are pushing a battery of dangerous and false solutions, embedded in destructive and exclusionary logics of commodification, dispossession and financialisation.
Access to fresh, affordable, nourishing, locally produced and culturally appropriate food (as well as the fuel to cook it and time to prepare it) should be the guaranteed right of every individual and household. However, global food systems are increasingly dominated by an ‘industrial diet’ where highly processed and low nutrient foods are widely available and most easily accessible. Many countries, including the UK, have shameful levels of food insecurity and diet-related ill health, and too many supposed solutions rely on the charity of the very businesses and government policies that are responsible for the problems in the first place.
In this session, organised by the Landworkers’ Alliance and La Via Campesina, an international panel discusses how the solutions to hunger need to be systemic and focused on meeting the needs of people rather than lining the pockets of corporations. How food producers and communities are organizing and fighting back to take control of their food systems and ensure everyone has access to good food at all times.
Join organisers at the forefront of sustainable, grassroots and radical initiatives to hear why food aid, at a local and international level, undermines food justice and perpetuates the causes of hunger. Also, to learn more about their powerful community led solutions tackling household food insecurity and hunger.
Africa faces multiple challenges related to our food systems, including hunger, malnutrition, obesity, noncommunicable diseases, the climate crisis, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, cultural erosion, and other climate related shocks, such as pest and disease outbreaks and escalating prices of external inputs. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the weaknesses of current food systems to meet the needs of African peoples.
These interconnected challenges demand a holistic response, with African civil society and institutions working together to develop African solutions to meet African needs, addressing the gaps and inconsistencies in current frameworks and exploiting the potential of innovative ideas and approaches.
This session will bring key actors and thinkers from across Africa to debate on the current status of the food system in their part of the continent and suggest solutions to address the challenges.
Too much investment flowing into agriculture is perverse – shoring up inequitable food systems that grow an ever narrower range of foods and exacerbate climate change. Massive public and private investments in agroecological food systems and agroecological movements are urgently needed – investments that align with agroecological principles and don't serve to greenwash investor portfolios. This session will explore why and how philanthropies and bilateral and multilateral development agencies invest in agroecology, both the challenges and opportunities.
Farmer Managed Seed Systems (FMSS) have, for hundreds of years, played a crucial role across the African continent in ensuring a diverse diet for millions of people and sustaining biodiversity. However, there is no continental law governing seeds in Africa and corporates have taken this as an opportunity to grab resources from the agricultural sector - which still occupies 70 % of the population into Africa - and sell them seed, fertilizers and pesticides. In some regions various stakeholders such as seed companies and their allies, are promoting uniformity in the name of high yield seed and food security.
Despite the push of multiple legal-political instruments to install industrial seed systems as the vehicle of African agriculture, 80% of seeds used by farmers in Africa come from their own reserves. In this panel, organised by AFSA, we will learn about two levels of resistance to the African seeds takeover by industry: first is led by civil society organisations at sub regional level, engaging the push of seed law revision favourable to hybrid seeds and GMO’s. Second is at national levels where farmers’ organisations break the law by organising seed festivals; sharing indigenous seed, knowledge and practices.
This session will hear from four projects in Western Europe pioneering ways of providing access to land for ecological food production and new entrant farmers. We’ll learn of different business models used in the UK, Germany, Belgium and France to inspire different models across the world and give insights into the context in which these projects operate and the practicalities of making them work.
CSA groups have sometimes been labelled as middle class. And although sociological studies show that it is true that many CSA members have a background of higher education, the essence of community supported agriculture is to back local organic/agroecological farmers, be inclusive and build social cohesion. CSA farms using agroecological practices are conscious of their key role in providing healthy, nutritious food for all while preserving soil health and agrobiodiversity.
There are a wide range of solidarity mechanisms that are implemented by CSA farms and groups around the world. The COVID-19 crisis contributed to casting a light on some of them: solidarity funds to offer shares to marginalized people, sliding schemes allowing members to pay a price that is proportional to the income, bidding rounds based on voluntary financial contributions and working shares, amongst them.
How efficient are all these techniques in making CSA more inclusive? How can farmers and consumers participate in the social inclusion efforts? In extremely different contexts, CSAs have developed ad hoc strategies to bridge the gap between different segments of our societies. This session will tell stories from the ground from three different continents.