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.
Diverse crop rotations are key to a successful agroecological and regenerative food system. Innovative farmers and growers across the globe are using a range of strategies and crop mixtures to build soil health, reduce pests and weed burdens, and enhance natural capital. In this session, curated by the FarmED team, you will be introduced to the key principles of rotation and hear about the diverse cropping systems at the Rodale Institute (Pennsylvania, USA) and FarmED (Oxfordshire, UK). An open discussion and Q&A will follow.
The UK has exited the EU but is in the process of striking trade deals with new partners around the globe and leading a big free trade agenda. This has enormous implications not only for our own food standards but those of our partners. This session is to explore where we are and discuss what we can still influence and how. Will the UK be leading the globe in setting high standards for the food that we accept in trade deals? Will we strike deals that support high environmental and animal welfare standards at home and abroad? Or will we unwittingly facilitate and lock in low standards in partner countries, making it harder for their farmers and citizens to farm in a nature-friendly way? We will be exploring who makes these decisions and what can we do to influence with some possible break out sessions led by trade campaigners.
With global hunger likely to double as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, the need for food systems transformation has never been more urgent. Across five continents, Agroecology Fund partners have been on the frontlines of relief efforts, mobilizing powerful grassroots networks to strengthen long-term food security and resilience. The Agroecology Fund launched an Emergency Fund to support 59 such community-led responses to Covid-19. A panel of grassroots organizations will share their strategies to provide healthy, agroecologically-produced food for rural and urban food systems.
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.
Including trees in farm management offers opportunities to future-proof our farms against the effects of global climate change. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent throughout the world. 60% of UK farm businesses have been affected by severe weather over the last 10 years. Soil degradation and loss are evident as wet winters carry our topsoil onto roads. Annually, flood damage costs the farming sector £1.9 billion, with a rise to £2.4 billion expected by 2050. We hear how growing trees can improve the profitability of your farm by helping to protect your soils during wet and dry weather.
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.
The Food, Farming Countryside Commission is launching new research looking at how future farming systems based on agroecological principles could be feasible for UK nations – removing the need for artificial inputs whilst producing healthy food to feed a growing population, contributing to net zero targets and making more space to restore nature.
In this session, the panellists will explore some of the details of this research, and talk about the questions that it opens up for the future. The research builds on work, carried out by IDDRI at a European level, that was introduced by FFCC and Soil Association at the last ORFC.
At last year’s World Food Day, UN Secretary General António Guterres announced that he would convene a UN Food Systems Summit in the fall of 2021. Little did anyone know that the stakes would become so acute so fast. The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly become a hunger crisis. At this moment of upheaval, what gets decided in the next few years will determine the path for global food governance for decades to come. Guterres‘s goal is to host an event that will push the world to transform food systems with a particular emphasis on eliminating hunger and malnutrition. But to over 500 peasant-led social movements, food worker unions, and human rights activists, the UN Secretary General’s call reflected an attempt by the private sector to take over global food politics. These claims were not unfounded
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food will discuss the different visions surrounding food systems: namely agroecology versus “sustainable intensive agriculture” and the international political landscape around those visions. He will describe the unfortunately marginal role that human rights have played during the Summit preparation so far. And he will outline why he thinks people at the Oxford Real Farming Conference can make a difference and how they may use their collective power to change the world’s food systems.