Tomato lovers, stop rejoicing. Because you will not find the perfect supermarket tomato in any supermarket. Not now, and perhaps not ever. It’s not because the Garden Gem is a genetically modified organism—it was bred the same way tomatoes have been bred for thousands of years. It’s not because some multinational owns the patent and won’t release it in the U.S. (which, unfortunately, is the case with a superb British potato called the Mayan Gold). It’s because Big Tomato doesn’t care about flavor. Tomato farmers don’t care. Tomato packers don’t care. And supermarkets don’t care.
Key Series: Systems, Commons and Agriculture By Jose Luis Vivero Pol Our society has a troublesome relationship with food. Although we produce enough food to adequately feed all, both obesity and under-nutrition affect an estimated 2.3 billion people globally causing 6 million deaths annually (1-2). Nowadays, many eat poorly to enable others to eat badly …
CLF teamed up with the Video and Film Arts Department at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) to produce Out to Pasture: The Future of Farming? films in 2010, which explore important issues in our food system.
Looking at the differences in the comments of the actual farmers is incredible. You can literally see the passion & enjoyment of the people that have made the change.
Given my suspicion of ill-informed technophobia, it was salient to read Philip Lymbery’s Farmageddon. This catalogue of devastation will convince anyone who doubts that industrial farming is causing ecological meltdown. Whether it’s a question of the wellbeing of individual farm animals, the biodiversity in rainforests or the harm caused to peoples such as the Toba tribe – displaced to the grim suburbs of Lima by the onward march into their traditional forests of GM soy plantations that feed European livestock – fixing the food system has to be a priority.
With every meal we eat, we choose whether or not to contribute to these problems. The businesses we buy our food from are our servants; they want to keep us happy. It follows that they will change only if we show them we are unhappy with, or, even better, enraged by, the current system.
This article by Lester R. Brown in the World Future Society Blog is an excellent read on the effects of wealthy sovereign and corporate interests. These foreign interests are blocking valuable land in poorer countries to produce output largely exported, with little to no benefits for the local population.
Growing demand for food and fuel has put pressure on the world’s agricultural lands to produce more. Now, a trend in “land grabbing” has emerged, as wealthy countries lease or buy farms and agribusiness in poorer countries to ensure their own future supplies. The result may be further economic disparities and even “food wars.”
I came across this very worthwhile project deserving widespread support: Open source seeds.
Open source seeds might come with documentation and a paper licence agreement that grants growers certain rights, may encourage them to share physical seeds, and may even provide certain constraints on how they can share the progeny of seeds developed from the resultant plants.
I have been following the work of Dr. Vandana Shiva for a number of years and this project certainly deserves peoples support as a counter-current to the trend of patenting plant seeds (http://www.no-patents-on-seeds.org/).