There’s a car bumper sticker that is quite popular in Australia: Every Family Needs a Farmer.
And, I admit, it is quite an effective marketing ploy from the agricultural lobby. I also admit to being quite soft when it comes to farmers, after all they do do a lot of hard work and usually get paid not much. They are also the (intensively raised) meat in the GMO-wheat sandwich.
Traditional arguments about extensive agriculture being needed to feed the world have often prevailed. Smaller players have argued this, but the alternative has largely been based on anecdotal data.
Now, the United Nations has gotten in on the act, and has published a very interesting paper that makes it very clear that conventional, intensive methods of agriculture are not the bees-knees after all. Instead, it finds:
agroecology as a mode of agricultural development which not only shows strong conceptual connections with the right to food, but has proven results for fast progress in the concretization of this human right for many vulnerable groups in various countries and environments. Moreover, agroecology delivers advantages that are complementary to better known conventional approaches such as breeding highyielding varieties. And it strongly contributes to the broader economic development.
What I find more interesting than the report itself is that it was developed by the Human Rights Council, and not one of those economic think tanks that are so clearly co-opted by economic powerhouses with very clear interests.
The notion of food as a human right is critical if the issue of feeding people food is going to be resolved.
It reminds me of the very simple statement, Just Eat Food, by an author whose name escapes me ( I suspect Michael Pollon, but cannot be sure). Not GMO, chemically enhanced, highly processed, engineered, whatever in a packet. But, food.
Just food, grown by people, and eaten by people.