Hundreds of smallholder farmers gathered in the city of Morogoro on November 17 and 18 for the 27th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima Tanzania or the National Network of Small-Scale Farmers Groups in Tanzania (MVIWATA). The organization was founded in 1993 by self-organized farmers in the wake of the country’s first Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) under the IMF and the World Bank between 1986 to 1989. The neoliberal reforms ushered in during this period marked an absolute departure from Tanzania’s centrally-planned economy under socialist president and leading anti-colonial figure Julius K. Nyerere. In 1967, Nyerere issued the Arusha Declaration, committing Tanzania to the principles of socialism and self-reliance and paving the way for nationalization of key industries and the collectivization of agriculture.
Based on findings from transdisciplinary research and drawing on interviews with eleven different new entrant case studies, this report encourages the governments of UK nations to recognise and act upon the urgent need to focus their support for new entrants into farming on breakingfood down the real barriers to entry for agroecological, short supply chain land-based enterprises. The report shows that agroecological farming and land work is an attractive sector, and investing in routes into agroecology for new entrants has the potential to both rejuvenate and diversify the farming and food production sector, while also helping governments to meet their food, climate and green recovery commitments.
This past week, I visited the community of Tomabu in the department of Estelí. It is a small campo community with an incredibly curvy and uneven dirt road that leads to the top. Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by Dolores and Bernardino in their home, where they shared with us that Dolores was born in the community and they have been campesinos/campesinas their entire lives, currently working with 4 manzanas of land, and that the community’s main crops are corn and beans Dolores and Bernardino have one of the ATC’s projects behind their home – cama profundas, as they are called in Spanish – a deep bed system for reproducing pigs that will either be sold within the community or consumed by community members. During our visit, we got to see the first piglets from the mother pig in the deep bed system.
It’s another example of the small-scale farming movement holding the advantage over global mainstream agriculture. Market gardens and community farms are small enough to look inwards, responsive enough to look outwards, and nimble enough to pivot and reflect back what they see. The first stage is the reckoning. A growing public debate around inequality and inclusion in the UK is driving a lot of discourse and the first breath of real change. Industrial agriculture and the traditional institutions of rural Britain often appear willing to ignore their own unjust foundations and oppressive dynamics. Whereas the arguably white, middle-class domain of the sustainable food movement seems increasingly unafraid to ruffle its own feathers.
Global food systems are at a breaking point. Not only are they responsible for roughly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, they are also the top contributors to water pollution and biodiversity collapse. On top of that, many aspects of our food systems are extremely vulnerable to disruptions from climate change and other shocks, as we saw in the first months of the pandemic. Agroecology — an approach to farming long practiced by Indigenous and peasant communities around the world — could transform our food systems for the better. And agribusinesses in the Global North are actively looking to agroecology to rebrand and build new markets under the banners of carbon farming and regenerative agriculture.
We feel like we are sandwiched between unfair market competition at the bottom and unfair production regulations at the top. The industrial baking industry has all the comparative advantages of size, it uses standardized raw materials and many types of additives. We have all the disadvantages of standards tailored to industrial production. These rules have not been adapted to the possible risks of our small-scale artisanal production methods. With lower production volumes and higher labor costs, we are disproportionately burdened by these over-regulations, which hardly help to fulfil the goals they are supposed to serve. As competent, independent and socially responsible craftspeople, we are disenfranchised and penalized by rampant bureaucratic regulations.
During a recent event at SXSW organized by Food Tank, Huston-Tillotson University, Oatly, and others, food system scholars and activists discussed the intersection of food, culture, and economics. Cortlin Harrison, a barista at the first unionized Starbucks in Buffalo, New York and a member of Starbucks Workers United highlighted some of the deep inequities perpetuated by food corporations. “We were seeing partners who can’t afford their rent, partners struggling with food insecurity,” Harrison says. “Meanwhile we’re seeing the corporate elite make billions of dollars in profit,” Panelists also pointed to many challenges on the farm. Sue Beckwith, Executive Director of the Texas Center for Local Food notes, “Black farmers and ranchers are losing heritage land to predatory developers every single day.”
Like-minded individuals from the United States, Mexico, Japan, Hong Kong, Borinquen, Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua gathered together in Nicaragua from September 3-13th, 2021, to build solidarity, exchange knowledge and culture, and learn through experience — specifically in the campo (countryside) of Nicaragua through agroecology. Members of the delegation eagerly gathered in Managua first to learn the history of Nicaragua and the Sandinista Revolution, which included touring the capital city, discovering historical sites, and enjoying community offerings in Managua, such as the beautiful Luis Alfonso Velasquez Park and the Salvador Allende Port. We learned that 45% of the population in Nicaragua live in the campo, and over 90% of the food consumed in Nicaragua is produced within the country.
The COP 26 United Nations climate meeting is underway in Glasgow Scotland. Following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's recent "Code Red" report that proves urgent action is critical, the world is looking at the corporate-dominated COP 26 to do what is necessary. Clearing the FOG speaks with Anne Petermann, executive director of the Global Justice Ecology Project, who says COP 26 is focused on 'false solutions' promoted by large corporations to protect their profits instead of the planet. Petermann describes a new publication, "Hoodwinked in the Hothouse," that explains what these false solutions are and what is necessary, the real solutions. She also discusses what people can do to save the planet.
Just off one of the main highways that crosses the Brazilian state of Paraná, there’s a narrow dirt road that’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. The road is bordered on both sides by corn, soy, and wheat. The landscape goes largely unchanged for eight miles until a worn-down sign informs visitors they have arrived in the Contestado Settlement—one of many large farming settlements belonging to the Brazilian Landless Workers’ Movement—or the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST). The settlement is structured like a village; further down the road lies a town square, a farmers’ cooperative, a health clinic, schools, markets, and even a cultural center.
Jesef Reyes Morales: The movement is composed of different collectives that carry out regional work in the island. Collectives of agroecological agriculture, community processes, educational work, artistic initiatives – all these have been brought together under the Movimiento de Agroecología Popular. It was founded about five years ago and is quite a young movement. Our objective, in addition to taking forward initiatives for agroecological production, is to help in the process of the empowerment of our peasantry. They are a sector of society where we can see a lot of cultural resistance but it is still dispersed in other aspects. So currently, it is not a politically organized sector of society but it should be. We see agroecology as resistance in our territories with respect to our seeds and our culture.
A minority of the global population has access to so much food than it can afford to waste much of it, while food insecurity has become a fact of life for hundreds of millions. This crisis stems from food and agriculture being wedded to power structures that serve the interests of the powerful global agribusiness corporations. Over the last 60 years, agriculture has become increasingly industrialised, globalised and tied to an international system of trade based on export-oriented mono-cropping, commodity production for the international market, indebtedness to international financial institutions (IMF/World Bank).
By Staff of Tele Sur - On World Food Day, teleSUR spoke to Professor Raj Patel, an award-winning writer and defender of food security and sustainable models of agriculture. In Cuba, where the external conditions—the U.S. blockade and the collapse of the USSR—along with internal socialist planning, have compelled Cuban farmers to adopt an independent model of agriculture to feed the population, without importing expensive chemicals, the model that has developed is a world leader in sustainability.
By Institute of Science in Society - We, the undersigned, belong to civil society organizations including social movements, peasants/farmers organizations and faith-based organizations from around the world. We are working to tackle the impacts of climate change that are already disrupting farming and food systems and threatening the food and nutrition security of millions of individuals. As we move towards COP21 in Paris, we welcome a growing recognition of the urgent need to adapt food systems to a changing climate, and the key role of agroecology within a food and seed sovereignty framework in achieving this, while contributing to mitigation through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. However, despite these promising signals, we share deep concerns about the growing influence and agenda of so-called “Climate-Smart Agriculture” (CSA) and the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA). Climate change is the biggest and the most urgent threat our societies face.