Experiences from other European States: Open Letter from the Farmworkers’ Confederation (France)

The Farmworkers’ Confederation is a French agricultural trade union whose purpose is to defend all kinds of farmworkers. The union, which has a national regional and local presence in the country, is a founder member of the European section of Via Campesina.  In this period of crisis for the whole farming sector caused by Covid19, on 20 March the union published a letter with the unambiguous title: «Coronavirus: The need to reinvent our farming and food systems».

The letter is highly significant and the analysis it puts forward enables us to reflect profoundly on our future, and not just in farming. We reproduce some important passages below.

The coronavirus crisis has shown that many areas of our daily lives must be removed from the logic of global competition, the search for profit at any cost, the financialization of the real economy and the specialization of land use.

If we continue to pillage natural resources, and to consider the earth, its fertility and its workforce like any other product, to produce food as if it were a standardized industrial product that can be traded all over the world, how are we going to live in the face of the collapse of biodiversity, and the health and agronomic impacts of climate change? […]

If we continue to patent living things and hand over the production of seeds to multinationals, what will happen in times of crisis if we don’t have control over the basis of our food supplies?

If we continue to build internationalized supply chains, where the smallest economic, health and climatic shock generates catastrophic market volatility, how can we guarantee fair, stable and secure prices for the farmworkers who supply our food here and elsewhere? Continua a leggere “Experiences from other European States: Open Letter from the Farmworkers’ Confederation (France)”

Planet A® Appeal “Land Matter Planet – Quality of the soil for the health of life”

Participants in the Planet A® session held 27-28 June 2019 at Chalons en Champagne in France with the title “Land Matter Planet – Quality of the soil for the health of life“, drew up and signed an appeal to those responsible for decision-making in Europe. We are reproducing it here in its entirety because of its importance. In addition to various office holders in the 4 per 1000 Initiative, the lead signatory is Rattan Lal, professor of soil science and co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 2007 to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

LIVING SOILS, A GLOBAL PUBLIC GOOD

“Preserving and restoring terrestrial ecosystems, including soils and forests, by ensuring their sustainable management, combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation and biodiversity”: This is one of the 17 sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. For us scientists, observers and cultivators of land and soil, the focus on soil is a vital imperative. Continua a leggere “Planet A® Appeal “Land Matter Planet – Quality of the soil for the health of life””

Livelihood Funds (France)

Can private businesses be concerned about the future of the planet? It seems they can, and ever more so. For several years now, the Livelihood Funds for example have been managing investment funds to combat environmental degradation, climate change and poverty. The major investors include Danone, Schneider Electric, Crédit Agricole S.A., Michelin, Hermès, SAP, Groupe Caisse des Dépôts, La Poste, Firmenich, Voyageurs du Monde, Mars Inc. and Veolia.

There are currently three investment funds, launched in 2011, 2015 and 2017.

The path is paved with good intentions which are set out on the Livelihood Funds site.

We are talking about it because on 16 January they published an interesting article Why Water Preservation Needs A Healthy Soil. It details the links between water, soil and organic matter. Soil that is kept healthy thanks to sustainable farming and management practices, brings many benefits for the whole ecosystem and especially water quality. Continua a leggere “Livelihood Funds (France)”

The Sète appeal

The 4per1000 Initiative has recreated the conditions for a piece of research based on interaction and dialogue: from those active in sustainable development to researchers to representatives of civil society, from professionals to political representatives. This is not enough, however: adequate financing is needed to respond with research to the urgent requirements of climate change.

Research labs must produce new scientific evidence that includes the “4 per 1000” approach in order to inform future political decisions. In order to achieve this and contribute effectively to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the 4per1000 Initiative must become a national and international research programme. The appeal is directed at France, but it holds true for all European and non-European states.

HERE the essence of the appeal launched at Sète (France) on 7 and 8 November, signed by researchers from France, Brazil, Spain, Madagascar, Senegal, and Morocco, and attached below.

Terres des liens (France)

As we said at the top of this newsletter, working together has become a necessity. The disappearance and degradation of the soil mean that action is urgent and necessary. Can the SIP Forum’s draft law remedy the highly negative situation we see described in all official documents, both Italian and European? It’s certainly a step in the right direction, but more is required. For example, there is a need to devise innovative rental contracts to give access to the land to new would-be farmers who want to farm but lack the necessary savings. There is a need for ways of making it easier to buy machines and tools. Farming methods that are organic and respect the environment should be encouraged by the use of tax breaks and other help. There needs to be support for those who set up groups or cooperatives to pursue agricultural and rural activities.  The list could go on and on. Everything is based, however, on a dramatic change in public opinion and in politics, which needs to give priority back to farming and those who work in it. Continua a leggere “Terres des liens (France)”

A card game that helps understand Agroecology

We are always on the lookout for tools that can help convey the importance of protecting the soil without necessarily using difficult scientific arguments. This is why we were excited to find out about an initiative that aims to use games to help people learn about agroecology.

Agro Challenges is a card game that helps young people learn about and understand agroecology through play. It was devised and produced by the Réseau Éducation à la Citoyenneté et à la Solidarité Internationale (Red) for agricultural education. The idea came about during a Franco-Brazilian seminar that set out to devise an educational game that could be used in all secondary schools. It consists of cards setting out the challenges that agriculture currently faces at local and international level. The players (between 3 and 6) can find out how much they know about agroecology while at the same time discussing the economic, dietary and social implications for the farming of the future. Continua a leggere “A card game that helps understand Agroecology”

The first Agroecology Europe Forum

In 2014, the FAO in Rome hosted the first International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition . In the wake of the symposium, several follow-up meetings were organised, also at the FAO’s initiative, on several continents. In Europe, the meeting was held in Lyon (France) on 25-27 October 2017, within the prestigious Isara University. Over 300 guests, representing farmers, technicians, researchers, students, national and international public institutions, civil society and NGOs attended this first Agroecology Europe Forum.

As a reminder, agroecology is understood as the implementation of ecological principles to agriculture, whether to produce food or other products, all of which is based on the management of agrosystems. This word encapsulates an agricultural concept whereby the scientific and social components of the ecosystem are taken into account. In other words, it is about creating a sustainable way of farming, able to feed the growing world population without jeopardising the environment and its natural resources. Naturally, it must also bring about economic viability to the farmers. The fundamental binding factor here is the soil. Continua a leggere “The first Agroecology Europe Forum”

When farmers are supermarket owners (France)

When we enter a supermarket, we become the final ring of a chain, which starts from the farmer, works its way through other commercial actors, and ends on the counter in front of our very eyes. The first “ring”, the farmer is in the least favourable position. His or her production must be approved by market law… technically by those who control commercial networks and sales. It is not a coincidence that the mafia have taken control of this “space” in the commercial chain which ensures high revenue, and at the same time gains agricultural land in order to speculate on recycling capital. Continua a leggere “When farmers are supermarket owners (France)”