It’s getting green out there. Finally. It’s been such a long winter. So this is the Get Growing edition.
Today we have an assortment of stories related to how we get our food.
Losing our grip on the family farm. Most people still believe that the land should be owned by independent local farmers who directly farm the land. But this system has been under serious threat for many decades now. Twenty years ago, the concern was that land was being bought by individual farmers with ever-larger land holdings, huge machinery and hired people to work the land. Now, even the large-scale individual farmer is being squeezed out by corporations and investment groups who are running these farms as agricultural businesses from afar.
In 2010, the National Farmers Union authored a report called Losing Our Grip. The report looked at family farms and food sovereignty. The NFU has just revisited and updated the report.
Jan Stromp is the president of the National Farmers Union. Jane Williams of Redeye asked him why so called “land grabbing” is harmful for local communities and economies.
Community-supported fisheries. For people who want to know where their food is coming from, community-supported agriculture allows consumers to share the risks of food production with their local farmers in return for a share of the benefits, usually in the form of a box of produce that shows up on their doorstep all summer. It’s known as Community-Supported Agriculture. Here’s a twist on that theme .. what about Community-Supported Fisheries? Rob Johnson is Atlantic Coordinator with Seachoice, a national program that works to foster sustainable fisheries. He spoke to Moira Donovan about creating sustainable fisheries by supporting your local fisher people the same way you support your local farmers.
Seed liberation. Modern agrobusiness techniques come with a high cost. In economic terms, farmers have become reliant on expensive seed and fertilizer. Intensive agriculture has also significant contributed to the degradation of land quality. And the change in farming techniques has also changed the way communities work.
The Rural Reconstruction Project in the Western Highlands of Honduras are proving that progress which works in harmony with traditional ways is possible. Their partner, World Accord from Waterloo Ontario, has been working with PRR for 25 years. Beginning as a literacy project to teach farmers how to read and write at a Grade 6 level, the farmers are now producing their own varieties of seeds based on those which their ancestors have been growing for hundreds of years.
Victoria Fenner, the exec producer of the rabble podcast network and rabble radio co-host, visited Honduras in 2010 and did this documentary with farmers high up a mountainside who are bypassing the multinationals and are farming their own way.