While in Navdanya, I watched two documentaries in the evenings. Both were very, very worth watching. They were both investigating food and agriculture in an era of globalisation. Our society is still fundamentally agricultural, and there are few topics more personal and universally-relevant as food. So, what we eat, where it comes from, and how it is produced is a (perhaps THE) key way in which we are un-sustainably stomping around on this planet.
The first doco was ‘Feed the World‘, a German production looking back along the supply chains bringing food to Europe to all parts of the world. This particular documentary cites startline statistics and increidble imbalances, including:
* Tomatoes produced via huge subsidies in spain are then dumped in Aftica where they are a third of the price of the local ones grown by Senagalese peasants. Thus destroying local agriculture and further indebting the nation to others..
* US and EU subsidised theiir farmers 1 billion dollars a day.
* The FAO report citing 842 million from severe and permanent malnutrition, but our aggriculture could feed 12 million no problem.
* European livestock eating the amazon’s soya. One square metre of hungle can be purchased for one cent. An area the size of France and Portugal has been cleared for this purpose since 1975. While people in northeaster Brazil starve. Europe imports 90 percent of its soya for feed.
And, some great quotes from key figures in food. As one EC official put it “Free Trade (in the context of the US and EU demanding developing countries open their markets and stop subsidies while they increase their subsidies and barriers to imports) has nothing to do with freedom. Is is like Mike Tyson going into the ring with an undernourished Bengali.”
Or the head of Nestle (turnover of 65 billion dollars, employing 375 000 people, and the 27th largest company on earth) suggesting that it is “extremist” to suggest that access to drinking water should be a human right. He thinks it is better thant I be treated like other foodstuffs and have a market value – Nestle are, afterall, the world’s biggest seller of bottled water.
AND, if all that gets you upset, or if you are worried about peak oil and climate change, you must watch “The Power of Community: How Cuba survived peak oil”. In fact, I would suggest everyone watch this to gain a bit of a glimpse at what many communities, cities and nations are going to have to do in the very near future…and be better for it ; )
I haven’t done either of these films justice, nor presented the context or solutions very well…but just want to get it out there that they are well-worthing checking out!