#WeNeedAShift | You can call for a change in the way we grow foodSeptember 29, 2019
We need a shift to diversified, eco-friendly food systems. That means agriculture needs to change.
Biodiversity is a marvelous thing. It is the creatures in and on the Earth and in the water. It is us. And it is the food we grow and eat.
But efforts at biodiversity conservation tend to focus on cuddly, charismatic megafauna. You know, the pandas of the world (not that we don’t love pandas).
The loss of our agricultural crop varieties doesn’t get a lot of attention – that’s right, crop varieties go extinct too. In the last century, an estimated 75 per cent of plant genetic diversity has been lost.
But agricultural biodiversity is worth fighting for.
The biodiversity loss followed the change in how food was grown. As large, industrial-style agriculture became the norm, crops became more and more uniform. Diverse varieties of corn, wheat and rice were given up in favour of a few prolific varieties. Increasingly, those few varieties are the ones that pair well with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
A century ago most farms grew a mixture of diverse crops. This diversity was like an insurance policy, making their local food systems resilient to unexpected events – the kind of unexpected events like droughts and floods that will be new, unpredictable normal as the climate continues to change.
We don’t have to go back to farming like we did 100 years ago, but we can take lessons from the past. We can shift our agriculture from a battle with nature to grow a single crop – a battle whose casualties include soil health, bees and other essential pollinators, water and air quality, and the quality of employment and health of farm workers – to growth that works with nature to grow a diversity of crops.
The good news is, there’s already a proven farming method that takes this into account. It’s called agroecology. And it’s what we do.
SeedChange calls for a shift. You can join us.
As we meet with government officials to advocate for a transition in agriculture, your support can help us prove there is an appetite for change. Sign your name today and be a part of the change!
“I know agriculture needs to change. I stand for diverse, eco-friendly, sustainable food grown in ways that respect nature, foster biodiversity and combat climate change. I call on decision-makers to drive a shift away from practices that degrade our soil, water and air. I call for change.”
What can decision-makers do to help drive this shift?
- Ensure that agroecology is a high priority in international negotiations related to climate change and food security.
- Enact policies that support agroecological farming and food practices, and facilitate the entry of family farmers through access to land.
- Support agroecological research and extension services as well as farmer to farmer exchanges, including action research by farmer organizations themselves.
- Develop policies that create vibrant local markets and local procurement of food free of synthetic fertilizers and chemicals to institutions such as universities, schools and hospitals.
- Take measures to curb trade and investment policies that harm farmers’ food systems and agroecological practices, lead to biodiversity loss, and infringe on of the people’s right to food.