Most of the world’s food is not produced by industrial megafarms. 75 percent of the world’s food is produced by 1.5 billion small farmers.
The hunger problem is not caused by low yields. The world has 6 billion people and produces enough food for 9 billion people.
There are now 1.02 billion hungry people in the world (nearly 50 million in the US). At the same time, there are 1 billion people who are overweight, many who are obese and suffer from diet-related diseases.
Hunger and obesity are the result of the overproduction of toxic junk food, the scarcity of healthy organic food, and injustice in the way farmland and food are distributed.
While many of the world’s leaders discussed the food crisis at a UN Food Summit in Rome (November 13-17, 2009), farmers, who were not part of the official delegations, took part in demonstrations outside the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters and met at an alternative forum, People’s Food Sovereignty Now! The 642 participants (more than half women) from 93 countries represent the more than 1.5 billion small farmers who produce 75 per cent of the world’s food.
Here’s what they had to say:
We reaffirm that our ecological food provision actually feeds the large majority of people all over the world in both rural and urban areas (more than 75%). Our practices focus on food for people not profit for corporations. It is healthy, diverse, localized and cools the planet.
…Our practices, because they prioritise feeding people locally, minimize waste and losses of food and do not create the damage caused by industrial production systems. Peasant agriculture is resilient and can adapt to and mitigate climate change…
We call for a reframing of research, using participatory methods, that will support our ecological model of food provision. We are the innovators building on our knowledge and skills. We rehabilitate local seeds systems and livestock breeds and fish/aquatic species for a changing climate…
…We commit to shorten distances between food provider and consumer. We will strengthen urban food movements and advance urban and peri-urban agriculture. We will reclaim the language of food emphasising nutrition and diversity in diets that exclude meat provided from industrial systems.