With the October 16 “International Food Day” and Campaign to support Climate, Food and Farm Justice right around the corner, our friends and allies at Fair World Project are spearheading the campaign: Small-Scale Farmers Cool the Planet and Feed the World! To gain a better understanding of the major issues we’re facing here, take a look at this fantastic, 17-minute movie:
You’ll learn that when we sum up the multiple stages and pollutants, industrial agriculture is at the top of the list for greenhouse gases (GHG), accounting for up to 50% of total emissions. Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, heavy machinery, mono-cultures, redefined land-use, deforestation, refrigeration, waste and transportation all contribute to a food system with a significant footprint contributing to global CO2 emissions:
- Agricultural activities alone are responsible for 11 to 15%
- Land clearing and deforestation cause an additional 15 to 18%
- Food processing, packing and transportation add 15 to 20%
In contrast, according to the Rodale Institute’s 30-year comparative study, small-scale farmers and pastoralists could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices. And, recent studies by the GRAIN conclude that small farmers feed a majority of the the world’s populations with less than a quarter of total farmlands. While small farmers are by and large more productive than big farms when all inputs are tabulated, we are quickly losing family farms and farmers around the world. Meanwhile big industrial farms are only getting bigger!
Current prevailing trade policies and practices, land jurisdiction, energy use, and patent laws favor large-scale agribusinesses that contribute to climate change, while making it significantly more difficult for small-scale, sustainable farmers to stay on the land where they are able to produce food for the world and mitigate climate change. Without safeguards and support, we risk both our global supply of healthy food and our struggle to combat the climate crisis.
To become actively engaged in the campaign, visit October 16
Learn more about innovative approaches and growing international acceptance of the organic solutions at hand:
Author: Monika Firl
October 14, 2015