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Join us - a panel of nine women ranchers across the US - for a facilitated weaving of conversation on the creative, collaborative, and diverse approaches to leadership within ranching communities and land stewardship. Hear stories of how self inquiry and experience are mapping a radically different path forward in a commitment to care for land. Connected through the Women in Ranching community across the western United States, the women on this panel are each shifting the world toward a more remarkable vision of what’s possible. This simple yet profound process of robust conversation is one of the most important efforts we can do to reconnect us to each other, to the land, and to our food system.
In this conversation, we’ll explore the work to solve complex ecological and social challenges in ranching communities such as land access, vital relationships, growing the next generation, failure and vulnerability, marginalized and silenced peoples, equitable and non-traditional funding to cash-flow a startup ranching business, interconnectedness of soil, grass, grazing, diversity, equity, recognition, inclusion, honoring lands for medicines and healing, and how being in relationship with land and collaborating with other life offers openings for renewing the spirit.
To accommodate the number of speakers, this session will be on Zoom and run for 90 minutes.
Seed Guardians from four Latin American countries share their views and experiences regarding traditional seed saving, organic seed production, networking and the challenges with new laws and regulations. The situation may be difficult, but hope is rising!
In the last two decades, the consolidation of agribusiness in Latin America has pushed traditional farming to the fringes of agriculture. Genetic erosion, or the disappearance of traditional seeds, has been a direct effect of this. It is not just the seeds that disappear, but the cultural practices and food identities with them. Without the adequate seeds, real agroecology is far more difficult to implement. Even the programmes aiming to help farmers and indigenous peoples in the development of organic systems often fail to address this issue, or to understand the need to build local systems that are culturally and ecologically adequate.
The members of this panel have been working to build up and expand regenerative food systems that sprout from the management of traditional seeds. They propose a different way to address the common problems of farmers in Latin America, from the bottom up. But they have been challenged by the interests of big agribusiness and the complicity of the State, with laws and regulations that punish Agroecology and the small farmer. In this session, they will share their struggles and the strategies that have developed to transform society with the seeds in their hands.
There is a paradox in ‘conventional’ agriculture around the world: growers apply high volumes of nitrogen fertilisers and pesticides in order to promote and protect yields, but pests and pathogens (P&Ps) continue to challenge food security. In this session, a team from the University of Edinburgh will share their recent work that focuses on the biochemistry of crops and offers new explanations as to why this occurs.
Their findings support the conclusions of the French agronomist, Francis Chaboussou, whose translated book: ‘Healthy Crops, A new Agricultural Revolution’ (2004) is now being relaunched online. All their conclusions lead away from the treadmill of pesticides towards ecological ways of farming.
Indigenous food systems, both in pre-Columbian times and now, are poorly understood by the Western world. Over the millenia, Indigenous food scientists have generated a wealth of biodiversity within the global food system, with 70% of the world's variety of foods come from the Americas. Indigenous peoples perfected–in hundreds of types of bioregions and ecotones)–low energy input-high energy output land management practices. For example, the Haíɫzaqv (ˈheɪltsək) Nation of British Columbia, Canada hand plant massive kelp forests along the shoreline to generate more surface area/spawning ground for herring fish. Their eggs/roe provide a massive caloric foundation for the entire island system, ultimately feeding sea lions, whales, salmon, wolves, birds, humans and more. Indigenous food systems are about life. Reinvigorating systems that give health and vitality not only to human beings but to all lifeforms, who are not seen as resources, but as relatives who we must relate to on a nation to nation basis.
To shift the global food system towards sustainability is going to be expensive. When foundations with billions of dollars in endowments offer to help problems in the food system, it feels like a relief. But if you've an eye on the changes they have brought to food and medicine, the giants of international philanthropy deserve your scepticism. Drawing ideas from their forthcoming book Inflamed, Rupa Marya and Raj Patel will offer examples of how colonialism lives on through the activities and practices of the world's richest organisations.
Rosibel Ramos and Kenia Baca Merlo tell their story of how they overcame multiple forms of gender inequality and violence in rural Nicaragua by founding and helping to run the women’s farming cooperative, FEM (Foundation Between Women), which produces coffee, vegetables, honey, wine and hibiscus as well as running its own schools, self-defence groups and community seed banks.
From Estelí in Northern Nicaragua, the two generations of women share their struggle against multiple forms of inequality. Rosibel Ramos, a founding member of the FEM, left behind a life of violence and poverty and at 60 graduated from university. She eventually became the President of the FEM cooperative or Las Diosas (The Goddesses) as they call themselves, which provides a huge infrastructure for women in similar situations. She will be joined by Kenia who joined the FEM as a teenager and is now a sociologist, beekeeper and farmer.
Together, with their 1,500 all-female peers, they collectively run eight agricultural cooperatives, educational programmes for women and girls, community seed “reservoirs” and womens defense groups to confront gender-based violence. The aim is to emancipate women through a strategy of ideological, economic and organisational transformation.
ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED. LIMITED SPACES: 750
Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide.
Gather follows Nephi Craig, a chef from the White Mountain Apache Nation (Arizona), opening an indigenous café as a nutritional recovery clinic; Elsie Dubray, a young scientist from the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation (South Dakota), conducting landmark studies on bison; and the Ancestral Guard, a group of environmental activists from the Yurok Nation (Northern California), trying to save the Klamath river.
Support for new genetic engineering technologies is quietly growing, even amongst groups claiming to be ‘for’ sustainability, agroecology and even organic. This is happening largely behind closed doors and without the informed input of stakeholders. In addition, there is now a global push to deregulate these technologies. It is a real and invidious threat to the widespread adoption of agroecological farming practices; yet, it is never talked about in those terms. How do we counter this threat, and how do we bring the discussion out in the open and encourage farmers, foodies and civil society groups – many of whom ignore or have abandoned the issue – to take it seriously? This session will explore the state of genome editing technology today, the threat that it poses to agroecology and in particular indigenous cultures, the claim that new genetic engineering technologies are a ‘benign’ tool in the agro-sustainability toolbox and the practicalities and ethical issues around co-existence.
Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au: I am the River and the River is Me. So say Iwi Māori who live alongside the Whanganui River in Aotearoa/New Zealand, in recognition of their inalienable connection to the land and water they call home. Fundamental to Māori cosmology is the idea that the whenua – the land – is an extension of the self: a relation, an ancestor, a placenta, a home. In recognition of this connection, several features of the landscape in Aotearoa/New Zealand—including the Whanganui River—have gained recognition as legal persons.
But what does it mean for a river—or a forest—to have legal personality? The legal personhood of nature is a legal tool that is being increasingly used worldwide, and which can better recognise human responsibilities for nature by implementing and encouraging a different relationship between people and the natural world. How can creating space for indigenous conceptions of the land, and indigenous mana motuhake (self-sovereignty) help to build food sovereignty? Join a panel of jurists, activists and food producers from Aotearoa/New Zealand to explore these topics in greater depth, and to consider how we can decolonise our relationship with indigenous knowledge, and embrace “two-eyed seeing” – weaving together Indigenous knowledge and Western science to enhance our perspectives and broaden our understandings.