It's widely acknowledged that we are in the middle of a world food crisis. Skyrocketing food and fuel costs, water scarcity, and population explosions have communities worldwide in the grip of hunger and dire food shortages. Come listen to four of the foremost authorities on the subject as they share forecasts and potential solutions for this immense global challenge- Slow Food Nation
Anya Fernald served as Program Director of Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) for three years. At CAFF, she led three primary projects active in six regions of California: a Farm-to-School program active in over 90 schools; a social venture produce distribution company; and the California Buy Fresh, Buy Local Campaign.
Fernald came to CAFF after five years with Slow Food International. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Fernald spent a post-graduate year of study as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow.
Corby Kummer is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he has established himself as one of the country's most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers.
Raj Patel holds a doctorate in Sociology from Cornell University and has worked at the World Bank, World Trade Organization, and the United Nations.
He is a writer and activist concerned with land reform politics, development studies, and food sovereignty. He authored Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System. His most recent book, The Value of Nothing, was on The New York Times best-seller list during February 2010.
Carlo Petrini founded the International Slow Food Movement in 1989. He first came to prominence in the 1980s for taking part in a campaign against the fast food chain McDonald's opening by the Spanish Steps in Rome
He is an editor of multiple publications at the publishing house Slow Food Editore and writes several weekly columns for La Stampa. He was one of Time Magazine's heroes of 2004.
Scientist, philosopher, feminist, author, environmentalist, and activist, Dr. Vandana Shiva is a one-woman movement for peace, sustainability and social justice.
Vandana Shiva was born in 1952 in Uttarakhand, India . Her father was a conservator of forests, and her mother was a farmer with a deep love for nature. Her parents were staunch supporters of Mahatma Gandhi, and Gandhi remains a profound influence on her thought. Echoing Gandhi, she says, “I have tried to be the change I want to see.”
After receiving her schooling in India and training as a gymnast, Vandana Shiva earned a B.S. in Physics, an M.A. in the philosophy of science at the University of Guelph, and a PhD in nuclear physics at the University of Western Ontario. As a graduate student, however, she found herself troubled by the realization that science had “a dark side,” and that she didn't know enough about the actual workings of society. India, she noted, had the third biggest scientific community in the world, but remained among the poorest of countries. Science and technology is supposed to create growth, remove poverty, but that was not happening in India.
Her quest for answers led her to study science policy at the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore where she explored interdisciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy. She emerged as an authority in the field of environmental impact, and became deeply alarmed by the threat to biodiversity posed by biotechnology. Hearing the leaders of world agri-business describe their plan to control the world's supply of food and pharmaceuticals through the use of patented, genetically-engineered seeds, she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, dedicated to opposing such ventures.
In 1991, Dr. Shiva founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seeds, and to oppose what she calls the colonization of life itself under the intellectual property and patent laws of the World Trade Organization agreement. Those laws, she says, have “only a negative function: to prevent others from doing their own thing; to prevent people from having food; to prevent people from having medicine; to prevent countries from having technological capacity.” She describes these laws as a “tool for creating underdevelopment.”
Physicist and environmental activist Vandana Shiva discusses the reasons why chemical fertilizers and genetic engineering will not be the solution to the food crisis. Shiva explains fertilizers kill soil productivity instead of enhancing it, while we should be focusing on increasing food diversity technology instead of GMOs.
Stuffed and Starved author Raj Patel says we need to think of acting beyond consumer power to address the food crisis. Patel gives an example of a food bank in Oakland that distributes locally grown food, and the poorest people in the bay area have begun to donate more than $20,000 for this service. Patel emphasizes that good food should be available to everyone not just the rich.
Great conference! To say it bluntly, corporations like Monsanto are only interested in their development of technologies that increase their hold on the means of production which will guarantee their profits. Until we tackle this issue of government regulation that requires a corporation to guarantee profits to their shareholders(an idealization ). Any other social focus such as world hunger will be slow progress or set aside until profit goals are fulfilled for the cycle.
Eric deCarbonnel has written and talked about the coming food crisis. I have been growing a lot of my own food for the past 8 + years. I'm expanding my gardens and greenhouses as I expect to have family and friends who are not prepared for what is coming.
As far as GM food crops are concerned, I've read a bit about these in various science journals. There has been precious little study done on the safety of these altered DNA crops. Almost no unbiased studies have been done. I'm reminded of a study by the Heshey's Chocolate Co. saying that chocolate doesn't cause acne. Maybe not. but I don't trust the study. Europe has a much more highly educated populace than here in the USA. They overwhelmingly reject GM foods. If they are so safe, why not require them to be labeled on the packaging and on the store shelves? Freedom of choice in food is a basic human right. There are a number of interesting articles in the below link:
According to Pimentel D. Environmental and economic costs of the application of pesticides primarily in the United States. Environment, Development and Sustainability. 2005;7:229–252; there are environment public health impacts from pesticides and fertilizers as they contaminate soils, groundwater, and streams.
The trade off between intense diverse production and extensive mono culture is a direct result of industrialization. Fewer tonnes of food off fewer acres grown by fewer farmers so the rest of the people could move to cities. I do not see that trend reversing itself, although there has been a recent revival in city gardens.
Fertilizers and modern farming methods in north america do not degrade soils, if anything reduced tillage technology developed over the last 20 years has improved soil structure and tilth visibly in my fields.
GMs are fine, not the final solution just yet. Our understanding of plant genetic engineering is far greater than the speakers suggest. Suggesting kindergarten knowledge is insulting.
Organic farming is total silliness. END OF STORY.
The Italian is spot on. The woman is a crackpot.