Land theft is not a thing of the past. Samwel, Kathryn, Angie and June will be talking about the different ways communities are discriminated against through land theft and dispossession. Their conversation will focus on understanding that true food sovereignty demands local control of land. Samwel’s Maasai community has faced illegal sales of their land to foreign companies; Kathryn, representing KMP (the Peasant Movement of the Philippines), has been on the frontlines of organizing to gain land rights for the nine out of ten Filipino farmers that do not own the land they till. The Provosts have been the target of predatory loans, historical deprivation and racial discrimination. Together, they will explain how ownership of land is not a narrative around regeneration or sustainability. It is an argument around sovereignty over the very land they and their ancestors tended. To be truly food sovereign, the land must be in the hands of the local communities.
The Shashe block of farms, in the Maszinvgo province of central Zimbabwe, is home to 500 farming families. Together with the Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF)’s and Shashe Agroecology School, they have worked to revive arid cattle-ranching land into rich, abundant food forests.
The school trains farmers in agroecological farming techniques such as inter-cropping, water-harvesting and farmer-to-farmers exchanges but at the heart of their practice is a special emphasis on seed and food sovereignty and ecological production integrated with seasonal ceremonies and rituals. There is also a deep emphasis on farmer led solutions to socioeconomic, ecological and cultural issues, which has stimulated designing a methodology for holistic nurturing of landscapes at the Shashe block of farms.
Join farmers and the founders of the Shashe Agroecological School in Zimbabwe, as they put their new internet connection to the test!
Global corporations claim their new technologies will benefit us all, but they could threaten us, particularly small-scale food producers and consumers. Even before COVID-19, the arrival of big data, synthetic biology, robotics and other tech were being hailed as the answers to hunger, climate change and even infectious disease. In the summer of 2020, ETC Group began convening conversations with, and among, civil society organisations, social movement allies and communities with whom we work. “Which Way Forward?” examined the implications of technological trends, especially those advanced under COVID-19, particularly as they affect the Global South. They will also outline alternatives for the future. In this session you can hear from Southern activists who have taken part in the dialogues. They will give their views on the process, the technologies under discussion and their vision for the democratisation of technology.
Co-hosted by MVArc (Portugal) and the Woodland Trust (UK)
Already we are seeing the difference in our weather patterns from climate change. Integrating trees within the farming system can buffer extremes by providing shade for crops and livestock. In this session, we will hear from speakers from the UK, Spain and the USA about the role of trees in a hotter climate, including practical management considerations and benefits for both livestock and crops. Can you do something now which will allow you to plan ahead to make your farm more resilient?
Conventional structures of business ownership have been shown to be completely incompatible with the needs of the planet and society. Short term profit motivated thinking has cost us dearly and the implications of veracious capitalism and the consumerist society that it has created are now coming home to roost. Urgent action is required and business needs to be a big part of this – they can’t just wait for customers to demand action from them. Movements like BCorp give cause for hope – galvanising businesses around the world behind a desire to balance profit and purpose. But without a fundamental rethink of business ownership – will business ever really be fit for purpose for our future.
In this session we will consider businesses that have chosen or are considering different paths of ownership to seek to lock in values for the long term. The session will be chaired by Rob Haward, MD of Riverford and will include Guy Singh-Watson, Riverford’s Founder, and Gabriela Delgado, who represents a co-operative of cardamom growers in Guatemala.
This session will focus on the US Food Sovereignty Movement (USFSA) and the process of organizing for food sovereignty in the “Belly of the Beast”. We will think together about how we can work across boundaries, amongst different constituencies to mobilize for food sovereignty in contexts, like the US and the UK, from where industrial and corporate agriculture is consolidated and projected onto the world. This session is organized in the spirit of mutual learning and solidarity with the intention that new ideas, connections and inspiration can emerge from sharing the history, processes, challenges and vision of the USFSA.
The session will include a talk by Saulo Araujo from WhyHunger (US) who will present his talk, “In the Belly of the Beast”, which will provide a historical and contextual analysis of neoliberal policies and its effects on grassroots organizing in the United States. This will be followed by a dialogue between Saulo and Gisèle Yasmeen from Canada and Dee Woods from the UK, who are each engaged in their own movements working for food sovereignty in these different national contexts. The session will be introduced and moderated by Colin Anderson, who is plugged into both the USFSA and the UK Food Sovereignty Movement.
Abattoirs are the linchpins of local food and sustainable livestock systems, adding value to meat, serving local consumers, reducing distance to slaughter and producing traceable by-products. Organised by the Sustainable Food Trust, this session is chaired by CEO Patrick Holden who will outline the current situation in light of the Agriculture Bill, Covid and Brexit. The panel will then discuss what is needed to make small abattoirs sustainable for the future.
Beginning with Will Harris, owner of White Oak Pastures and home to one of America’s only on-farm slaughterhouses, we will explore how the problems facing small abattoirs are mirrored across the pond. He will talk about why slaughtering on farm, or as near to the farm as possible, is so important, and will share his knowledge of the best ways to achieve this.
Head of the Food Standards Agency Emily Miles will then speak about the situation in the UK and what is needed from a regulatory and governmental point of view to ensure the small abattoir sector can be resilient and thrive. She will talk about measures already being taken by the FSA and give insights to the impact of Brexit and COVID-19, looking to the future and what more can be done.
Marisa Heath from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare will share the work of the new small abattoir sector group, including work on waste, reducing distance to slaughter and how Government support could enable small abattoirs to thrive.
Finally, we will hear from Sara Grady and Alice Robinson about how to make small abattoirs sustainable from the ground up, through developing by-product markets. They are adding value to what has in recent years become a waste product for abattoirs - hides and skins - by developing leather that is fully traceable back to the farm.
Most soils across Africa are degrading and being lost to erosion. The conventional approach has been to push chemicals to ensure production. Research increasingly reveals that these chemicals contribute to killing soils, as well as causing harm to human health. Unfortunately, corporate and academic interests ensure a continuation of this ‘chemical life support system’.
During the last 50 years an increasing number of alternatives to the mainstream chemical approach have been emerging around the world and across Africa. Climate change, nutrition and research into the microbiology of soils have given increasing credence to what we now call an agroecological approach to soil management. These efforts tend to be dispersed. While networking has improved, there is still not enough joint learning around soil health improvement.
The session brings speakers linked to practical work around soil health through efforts of The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), working in collaboration with the Seed and Knowledge Initiative (SKI) .A network of soil health improvement centres across the continent that work very closely with farmers is emerging. The aim is to encourage trials and learning towards identifying appropriate practices for advocacy purposes. Africa’s nutrition security depends on adopting a very different narrative to the current chemical one.
Much food production in Europe and North America depends on migrant workers. Yet, most people are not aware of the extreme working and living conditions involved in food production and processing. In many cases workers are people who have been forced to move to regions in the Global North due to climate change and conflict from rural and land-based livelihoods in poorer countries or regions. The criminalisation of migration is making people’s journeys to seek refuge increasingly dangerous and fuelling exploitation of people within the industrial food and farming system.
In this session, we will hear from members of La Via Campesina from Italy and the US-Mexican border region. This will allow us to consider the challenges faced by farmworkers on the front line of the transnational labour movement. We will ask what can be done to show solidarity with workers, and we will learn from the recent experiences of La Via Campesina organisers.
To understand how we can oppose racist oppression of land-based workers and challenge the systemic causes of exploitation, we will hear about new models of ethical agriculture run by Italians and migrant workers. To explore how similar struggles emerge in industrial food systems across the world, we will hear from Carlos Marentes who has been a labour organizer and farm worker advocate since 1977. The discussion will focus on long-standing struggles, new challenges in the context of coronavirus, and messages of hope and solidarity.