Agroecology has gained ground in recent years as the need to transform our agrifood system becomes increasingly clear. The food and financial crises of 2008, and the deepening climate and environmental crises, have revealed deep challenges for the way we produce and consume food. Global agrarian justice and food sovereignty movements, organised in global convergences like the Nyéléni Forum, have emphasised the importance of agroecology in this transformation. They highlight the political nature of agroecology: ‘it requires us to challenge and transform structures of power in society'.
Jeannette Oppedijk van Veen, Leonardo van den Berg, Sijtse Jan Roeters, Jolke de Moel, Hanny van Geel
17 April 2019
Against the backdrop of an agrarian landscape that has become more homogenous, sterile and empty over the past 50 years, a new movement of Dutch farmers and citizens is emerging. They want to support a type of agriculture that does not damage the environment, enriches the life of farmers and citizens, and produces healthy food. This desire is expressed through a vast array of initiatives. It includes growers who allow citizens to undertake their harvesting, dairy farmers who plant trees and herbs in the field, cereal farmers who sell directly to local bakers, farms in which citizens become shareholders, and many more.
Industrial fishing, from deep sea trawling to coastal fish farms, is damaging the environment and emptying our oceans. But there is an alternative. Small-scale fishers around the world rely on traditional methods and practices, working in harmony with the environment to feed themselves and their communities. Around the world they are rallying around the idea of food sovereignty and the vision of a global food system with with food producers and human rights at its center.
In both TTIP and CETA food, agriculture, animal husbandry and horticulture play a major role and the prospects for European farmers and consumers are not good. TTIP negotiators are discussing abolishing or lowering import tariffs for agricultural products and the mutual recognition of each others’ standards relating to environment, animal welfare, food safety and labour rights is on the agenda.
Applications are invited for the Young Researchers Program, a mentorship programme, offered by the Hands On the Land Alliance (HOTL) together with Transnational Institute, FIAN International and Friends of the Earth International. This programme enables young engaged scholars and activists to strengthen their capacities around understanding food sovereignty and the human right to food, including opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, benefiting from the experience of mentors, and the opportunity to attend two main events as part of the research process.
In February 2016 the second Voedsel Anders conference brought people together to build new connections and relationships within the food movement in the Netherlands, Belgium, and around the world, and to begin working towards a shared agenda and strategy for the movement. Over a thousand participants, some returning and some attending for the first time, gathered in Wageningen to discuss food system problems and solutions, plant the seeds of new ideas, build new connections, and grow the movement.
Effective state policies and investments in support of small scale food producers does not only provide a socially just alternative to a model based on foreign direct investment in agro-industries, but it is also a safeguard against land grabbing.
In the industrial or corporate food regime, hunger is a staple commodity. Agrarian and food justice movements have come a long way in building an alternative system, but there are still many challenges.