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How can we bring about people’s control of technology? How can grassroots activists and popular movements take on the might of corporations who wish to impose new technologies on us? This workshop session, in collaboration with ETC Group, is an opportunity for activists from different communities around the world to connect and learn from each other’s experiences in struggles about technologies in the food system. What were the lessons for current times that can be learnt from opposing Terminator Technology in the early 2000’s? How can popular movements shape those future technologies that might affect them? The discussion will start with a description of work by the Latin America Network for the Social Assessment of Technology (TECLA) by Verónica Villa.
It is now widely accepted that fundamental changes are needed across the food system to address the climate emergency, food insecurity, tackle an escalating global public health crisis, and ensure resilient livelihoods for food and farm workers. Over recent decades, agroecology has risen to meet the challenge, offering a holistic framework to address current food systems’ environmental, social and economic failings. At the same time, the steady growth of the organic market has made a strong impact on the global development of standards and regulatory requirements. Additional – and occasionally competing – approaches, such as regenerative agriculture, ecological organic agriculture and others have also increasingly been taken up in different regions of the world.
This session, organised by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) will discuss the contributions of agroecology and other approaches to the development of sustainable food systems. It will particularly consider what could be common principles across these various approaches to sustainable food systems development, and recognize the dangers of ‘greenwashing’ and ‘co-optation’ of terms in the ongoing global debates on the future of agriculture and food.
Join the recently-formed Global Grassfed Alliance to hear about a growing international movement of people and organisations championing the production of grass-fed meat and milk from regenerative farming systems. The session will be a dialogue between members of the alliance working with different geographic constraints and increasing public interest the world over.
The Global Grassfed Alliance (of which the UK’s Pasture-Fed Livestock Association, host of this session, is a member) is in the early stages of development but already common ground is emerging between countries and organisations, and a strong need to establish an international understanding of what “grass-fed” means. Done right, grass-fed production can deliver so many benefits for society, improving animal, human and planetary health, but, unless protected, it could become “grasswash”.
Who are the organisations and people working to champion this work and what can be done to encourage greater international collaboration between them? This session will bring together some of the best examples from around the world, from well-established organisations to those just starting out.
As power in the food system is increasingly globalised and concentrated, we need strategies to hold corporations to account for the human rights abuses taking place in the fields growing produce that supply our supermarket shelves, and improve the working conditions or agricultural labourers. Join us and hear from leaders discussing social movement strategies to mobilise workers power to defend their rights in the face of multinationals in the food and agriculture system.
In this session, we will hear from the USA Coalition of Immokalee Workers and how they have reduced exploitation, improved pay and instituted union led standards and audits by public mobilisation against the companies that ultimately benefit and control the market they supply. We will also hear about the Binding Treaty on Transnational Corporations. With LVC members in Europe, we will also discuss ways in which these models can be implemented in European supply chains that rely on the exploitation of migrant labour.
“Business as usual is not an option” – the global report by the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), published in 2009, came to a clear and straightforward conclusion. More than a decade later, decisive action is no longer “an option;” it’s an imperative. The COVID-19 pandemic has moreover laid bare the inequities, system failures and dangers of today’s dominant, globalized and increasingly corporatized food and agriculture systems that have concentrated profits in the hands of a few, while simultaneously driving global climate, biodiversity and health crises towards their tipping points. Today’s multiple accelerating crises demand transformative change. Ample evidence now exists that such change is not only possible but is already happening on the ground in communities and countries around the world.
In this session, we look at how food system narratives have evolved in recent times, what key barriers still need to be overcome to achieve a profound paradigm shift, and what action is needed to accelerate food system transformation.
ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED. LIMITED SPACES: 500
The workshop will look at on-farm alternatives to soya as a protein source and alternative soya products not associated with deforestation.
Feeding pigs and poultry entirely on organic and regionally sourced feed is a long-held ambition of many organic and agroecological farmers. OK-Net EcoFeed, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 scheme, is helping them achieve this goal.
In this workshop, we look at two systems which could replace soya as a protein source: insects and duckweed, and we hear from a farmer aiming to produce eggs from a soya free diet in the UK.
We also explore the potential for European soya to be used as an alternative to US and South American soya bean meal, reducing emissions associated with transport while growing soya on existing arable land and without causing deforestation.
Leader of the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC), Nonhle Mbuthuma, share’s her farming community’s struggle to defend their ancestral land from Mineral’s Resources Limited, (MRC) an Australian mining company with British investment. The people of Xolobeni town, on the Wild Coast of South Africa, fought for many years against the proposed gold mine and finally succeeded with their “Right to Say No” campaign in 2016. The proposed mine would have destroyed a 22km area of the Amadiba people’s riparian and coastal lands, polluting the waters upon which the community depends for their food and livelihoods..
The ACC wrote petitions, protested and created blockades along the coastline but the resistance was met with deadly violence when the previous chairman, Sikosiphi ”Bazooka’ Rhadebe, was murdered. Stepping up to lead her community, Nonhle, continually risked her life to keep the mining companies out but while they defeated MRC the threat never goes away. Now the South African government are looking to push through new mining contracts, without consultation, to help with its new Covid economic regeneration plan.
An incredible land defender, Nonhle, is now at the forefront of a campaign uniting communities across Southern Africa to assert their Right to Say No to unwanted mining. She will be interviewed by Colombian activist, Mariana Gomez Soto, who works with communities in similar situations in the Amazon.
In the 1990s, famine in North Korea killed 3 million people; many surviving children “lacked full cognitive ability”. Rice yields had more than halved, falling from eight tonnes per hectare down to three tonnes due to a misplaced faith in artificial fertiliser and other agro-chemicals and widespread abandonment of grassland, livestock and crop rotations. The soil had died and physically collapsed. Globally, the farming industry remains dependent on these chemicals, leading to widespread decline in soil fertility and structure.
But there is emerging recognition of the soil as a living, thriving ecosystem hosting around a quarter of the world’s biodiversity and providing the fundamental bridge for plants (hence all terrestrial ecosystems) to obtain essential nutrients from the soil. This underground and largely invisible world – a universe beneath our feet – is a vast community of life with its immeasurable intricacies interacting with such complexity that our understanding is still only the tip of the iceberg.
The functionality and productivity of both our natural and agricultural landscapes are intimately intertwined and completely dependent on the ecosystem services that soils provide. Learning from the North Korean experience, this session will focus on giving a broad understanding of the amazing soil bugs that sustain us and how we, in return, can sustain them.
Many grass-fed/regenerative farmers have been “going against the grain” for years. There are signs this is changing as more farmers are looking at regenerative techniques, especially with changing subsidies in the UK. US ranchers Doniga Markegard and Will Harris are leading the field when it comes to grass-based farming systems and regenerative land management.
Will Harris took the leap 20 years ago. He is a sixth generation farmer on his family farm in Bluffton, Georgia. In 2000, his farm, White Oak Pastures, was a conventionally-run commodity cattle farm with high levels of pesticides, fertilisers, hormones and antibiotics in use. Today, it is mixed-farming system home to cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry and rabbits, managed using methods that have been around for centuries.
Doniga Markegard has a background in wildlife tracking and permaculture. She has applied those keen observational skills as a regenerative rancher. Her and her family transitioned to direct market grass-fed 15 years ago and they now sell grass-fed beef, grass-fed lamb, pasture-raised pork and pasture-raised chicken. The family stewards 10,000 acres of coastal grasslands on the other side of the US from Will, in the San Francisco Bay Area. She believes in large-scale restoration of western rangelands through mimicking nature, learning from indigenous stewards while producing nutrient dense meats. Her family is featured in the documentary Kiss the Ground, currently on Netflix.