Towards food sovereignty

Il·lustració © Nicolás Aznárez

As Vandana Shiva asserts, the health of the planet and ours are inextricably linked. If we hurt the planet, we are hurting ourselves. The agri-food system has developed food production mechanisms with the potential to meet the needs of the entire population. But that’s not the case. Under the conditions in which it operates, it is unable to guarantee a balanced and healthy diet for all, and has become a factor of food insecurity with serious consequences for public health, biodiversity and the balance of nature. Deforestation associated with intensive agriculture and intensive animal farming, the proliferation of predator fishing systems and the degradation of arable land for the spread of monocultures generate imbalances that jeopardise the very capacity to produce food. If we do not set this right, future generations will bear the brunt of the consequences.

The subordination of food production to market optimisation criteria has given rise to a paradoxical reality: while in the wealthiest societies up to one third of the food produced is wasted, millions of people go hungry or suffer from different forms of malnutrition. In advanced industrial societies, food surpluses exist alongside serious inequalities in food access, so that a significant share of the population suffers from nutritional deficiencies and imbalances that affect health. The silent epidemic of obesity that is sweeping the world is the main consequence, although not the only one.

We must rethink the way we feed ourselves and move towards a model of food production and distribution that respects the environment in which no one is excluded. Organic farming, extensive livestock farming and a new distribution logistics based on local and seasonal production and trade are emerging as alternatives to advance towards food sovereignty. Given that half of the world’s population lives in cities, the latter are called on to drive a change that must be profound, in line with the recommendations of the 2015 Milan Pact, signed by 210 cities, including Barcelona. If we do not effect change, the future will look more like the dystopias of collapse than the blissful world of overabundance depicted by certain food industry ad campaigns.

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