Giant corporations have taken control of our food. In the last two years, these companies have begun the process of merging and re-arranging themselves into just four colossal corporations. The larger these companies grow, the less we can control them. And the less control we have, the harder it is for us to build the kind of food system that more and more of us want: one that recognizes the value of people, respects the planet, and provides decent, dignified work. How did this happen, and what can we do about it?
There is mounting evidence that neoliberal policies are losing legitimacy. The translation of such disaffection into positive commitment to an alternative, however, requires deeper disengagement from the dominant order and practical participation in creating alternatives. A social order built on escaping the pressures of democracy while at the same time depending on the capacities of many desiring democracy is unlikely to be stable. Thus the opaque and indirect forms of power typical of neoliberal rule are simultaneously sources of vulnerability and dependence, and breeding grounds for the power to subvert and transform.
The time has come for a transformation of Europe’s food systems. Small-scale food producers, peasants, community groups, environmental justice activists and others have been calling for years for a shift towards agriculture that nourishes communities, regenerates ecosystems, and provides decent and sustainable livelihoods. The concept of agroecology encompasses these ambitions, referring to the science, movement, and practice of working with nature to build food sovereignty. The climate crisis and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have only made it clearer how urgent such a transformation is.
Land politics – who controls what land, how is it used, for how long, for what purposes and to whose benefit – is a central pillar of this debate. As politicians across Europe struggle to balance the urgent need for climate action with the need to strengthen equity and popular support for new policies, the risk of societal discord looms large, fuelled by farmer protests, perceptions of ‘agri-bashing,’ and long-running tensions between conservation movements and agricultural communities. This has been made more complicated by the interweaving of questions of land and national identity and an apparently increasing disconnect between those living in rural and urban areas.
This workshop report shares key outcomes and insights from a workshop which took place in Amsterdam in October 2019, where participants from a range of organisations met to discuss the history of their collaborations around Just Transition and the lessons learned so far.
A series of infographics that expose the massive concentration of land in Europe. Over the last decade, the EU has lost a third of all its small farms, 3% of its farms now own 52% of farm land, and land inequality has become worse than wealth inequality.
The Covid-19 pandemic has provoked widespread discussion of what kind of future the world should look forward to after the crisis. One of the areas of economic life around which there is spirited debate is the global food system. This paper focuses on how the pandemic has exposed the fragility of the corporate-dominated global food supply system and shown that it is not, as the Food and Agriculture Organization and its allied agencies see it, part of the solution.
The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause present in many trade treaties give investors far-reaching protection, curtailing governments’ ability to regulate for progressive agrarian and agricultural policies and reinforcing the notion of land as a commodity.
Global corporations are increasingly influencing development policy, resulting in partnership agreements like the New Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security that grow corporate profits while endangering the livelihoods of small-scale farmers.
The new publication ‘Connecting Smallholders to Markets’ supports advocacy efforts by social movements on market issues by making the recommendations adopted at the Committee on World Food Security more understandable and accessible.