Welcome to the GEN Newsletter on Food Sovereignty!
The agro-industry, coupled with rising food prices and food speculation, directly contributes to the current global ecological and economical crises. Currently, 800 million people in our world do not have enough to eat, and 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry. (http://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats)
Being deprived of land, of water, of their own seeds, and of the right to trade locally, communities all over the world have become dependent on global food supply systems. In India, the country with the largest body of surviving small farmers in the world, thousands of farmers unfortunately commit suicide every year (http://www.countercurrents.org/glo-shiva050404.htm).
Genetic engineering and seed patents; corporate control of people’s food; and the over-reliance on pesticides and herbicides, are all part of the reasons behind these grueling numbers. Everywhere, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find healthy, safe food. Realising that the tomatoes, strawberries, or grapes that we feed our children, contain high levels of pesticides, have been grown under inhuman work conditions, and use resources, like energy, water, and soil, in unsustainable ways, is painful.
Alternatives are needed. This is why many ecovillages all over the world are implementing ecological farming methods and aiming for food sovereignty: the ability to grow all the food needed locally while regenerating the soil, water resources and biodiversity. This work does not end at the borders of the ecovillage: including neighbours; learning from, and teaching, local farmers; trading food in local markets; creating regional strategies for reforestation and natural water management, are all contributions to achieve sustainable food autonomy in a region.
It has been shown that ecological farming can increase yields, build resilience against pests, and nourish richer, more fertile soils, while at the same time decreasing pollution through pesticides (http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/agriculture/solution-ecological-farming/).
Growing our own food in a sustainable way everywhere on the planet will be the most effective non-violent revolution in these times of globalisation. Ecovillages play a major role in this movement. This newsletter shows examples from every continent of how ecovillages and transition projects create regional food sovereignty while deepening the bond with the land they live on and the people they live with.
May we realize, here and now, that long before the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught, that we can’t eat money.
We wish you great inspiration!
Kosha Anja Joubert, President GEN Internation
Leila Dregger,,Jenefer Marquis, editors