The globalised trade system has been caused tremendous problems for land rights, focusing on the consolidation of land for mono cropped export crops which have undermined diverse localised food systems across the world. However, some models of trade, rooted in solidarity, can be a force for good- supporting traditional farming and forestry systems, creating livelihoods and economic power for marginalised communities. We will learn from the Zaytoun cooperative's partner Canaan Palestine which exports olive oil and other products to support the livelihoods of farmers in Palestine and the Association for the Protection of Forests of the Kayapo people of the Amazon in Brazil about how trade can support fair livelihoods and their important work to protect their culture and territories. Jyoti Fernandes of the Landworkers Alliance will explain how we should develop a solidarity trade system in the UK to enhance markets for fairly-traded agroecological products and most importantly- where to buy Brazil nuts and olive oil!
ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED. LIMITED SPACES: 500
Community seed initiatives such as libraries, banks, and swaps are popping up all around the UK - and some have been leading the way for years. As the momentum grows, let's take an opportunity to come together and share experiences, pitfalls, and opportunities; find out what has worked (and not worked at all!) for other groups, and how we can ensure that our community seed is as diverse and resilient as it can be.
Joined by the London Freedom Seed Bank, Lampeter Seed Library, European Coordination Let’s Liberate Diversity and others, The Gaia Foundation’s Seed Sovereignty Programme looks forward to hearing from community initiatives across the UK on how it can best support them in the future. This is a space for communities who are in the process of setting up seed work to learn from groups who have paved the way, and an opportunity for groups to form connections and support each other.
This session will present preliminary findings of ongoing research on the experiences of agroecological entrepreneurs in Africa conducted by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) and the Agroecology Fund (AEF). The speakers will present their perspectives on the question: “Shaping the Future of Food Markets: What kind of markets do we need for the transition to agroecology?” This was the AFSA food systems conference theme held in October 2020. The panelists will explore why and how local and regional territorial markets for agroecological products can be a strategic lever for amplifying agroecology across Africa by sustaining smallholder farmers with income.
ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED. LIMITED SPACES: 500
What are the latest practices farmers are trialling to tackle weeds and pests using plants rather than agrochemicals? Join this practical session to hear from a panel of farmers, growers and researchers as they discuss the latest results and tips to come out of the Innovative Farmers’ network of farmer-led trials.
Can you tackle couch grass with allelopathic plants like buckwheat? What trap crops are best for deceiving potato pests in commercial farms? Can you beat weeds by finding varieties of wheat that are best suited to organic conditions? These questions (and more!) are being asked by farmers and researchers who are teaming up across the UK to pioneer nature friendly farming techniques that tackle pests and weeds without using agrochemicals. Through the Innovative Farmers programme a range of ecological practices are being put to the test on real farms where the trials are codesigned by the farmers. A process which ensures the outcome is realistic and easier to implement. Join this practical session to hear the latest results and analysis, get tips and find out more about the farmer-led research model.
Regenerative food systems expert, Javier Carrera, shares with us the strategies of a long struggle to protect ancestral maize in Ecuador, along with the cultural practices related to this special plant. He will talk about what maize is in Ecuador and why it is so important and share lessons to transform organic maize systems worldwide.
Javier has been fascinated by maize for as long as he can remember, partly because it has so many different types and uses: canguil, mote, cau, choclo, morocho, tostado, chulpi, chicha, humita, chuchuca, tortilla, champús. And so many different colours, forms, sizes, textures and flavors. He says the genetics of maize are so similar to ours in many ways and there have been so many stories, cultural practices, folk songs, rituals, recipes written about maize.
“I totally understand when people say ‘we are people of maize. Our bodies and souls are made of it.”
But out of the 300+ maize varieties listed by national researchers in the 1960’s in Ecuador, Javier’s network of seed guardians, Social en la Red de Guardianes de Semillas, has only been able to find only around 50. The rest of them are gone. Probably forever. Who were they? What were their names, stories, flavors, colours?
Communities within oil spill zones face great challenges as they attempt to recover from devastation. Thirty-one years after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, several species, including Pacific herring, marbled murrelets, pigeon guillemots and the region's transient killer whale pod are on the verge of extinction. A major decline of fisheries has led to loss of subsistence and commercial fishing livelihoods for Alaska Native People.
One way we can help heal the ocean and create new opportunities for the people is through the cultivation of regenerative kelp farms/forests along the 1,500-mile stretch of coast impacted by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Kelp provides habitat during a critical phase of wild salmon and herring life cycles. Kelp is also a traditional food source for Alaska Native Peoples that has been harvested for millennia. (The Eyak word for kelp is: duh.)
Dune Lankard, an Eyak Elder, longtime activist, and Founder of Native Conservancy has designed a pilot program that integrates Eyak ecological knowledge and science and puts it to work in the Exxon Valdez Spill Zone. Native Conservancy currently has seven research kelp farms in the water, and will be testing the kelp this spring.
The food and agrochemical industry spends billions of dollars every year to shape consumer demand for their products and public perception about their practices. Some of this vast spending underwrites the most visible form of this narrative shaping—advertising. But billions more are spent around the globe on strategies to shape the story of food without industry fingerprints. In this session, author and advocate Anna Lappé talks about reporting she and colleagues have been doing for years that reveals the stealth tactics of industry to shape what we believe about food in order to influence the policies and regulations that most impact the bottom line. Join Anna Lappé for this talk and apply for the workshop to get more in-depth training on spinning food.
Thinking about fungi makes the world look different. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that support and sustain nearly all living systems. Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and help remediate environmental disaster. In this conversation, Merlin Sheldrake and Charles Foster will discuss the ways these extraordinary organisms – and our relationships with them – change our understanding of the planet on which we live, and the ways that we think, feel, and behave.
Around the world livestock farmers face challenges from infectious disease, parasites and various stress related issues. Meanwhile, globally, efficacy of antibiotics and other veterinary pharmaceuticals is breaking down, threatening human health as well as livestock and planetary health. While many agri-industry and research organisations are turning to, and trusting, genetic engineering and biotechnology for a solution, more ecologically and biologically sound alternatives are not getting the attention they deserve – in terms of both prevention and treatment of disease. Many effective holistic approaches can be found throughout the world but are rarely documented, evaluated and promoted. This session will present and discuss evidence, veterinary advice, farmer experience and offer practical nonconventional solutions to livestock health problems.