Sunday, February 26, 2012

Protect Your Food Security

The Food Movement Speaks With oneVoice: Occupy our Food Supply

Willie Nelson, Anna Lappe, Vandana Shiva, Michael Pollan, Raj Patel, Marion Nestle and Many Others Join 60+ Occupy Groups and 30+ Environmental and Food Groups for Global Day of Action 
Monsanto and Cargill rise to top of food movement’s ire 
SAN FRANCISCO (Thursday, February 23): On February 27, an unprecedented alliance of more than60 Occupy groups and 30 environmental, food and corporate accountability organizations have joined together for Occupy our Food Supply, a global day of action resisting the corporate control of food systems.

The call to Occupy our Food Supply, facilitated by Rainforest Action Network, is being echoed by prominent thought leaders, authors, farmers and activists including the Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva, Food Inc.’s Robert Kenner, music legend Willie Nelson, actor Woody Harrelson, and authors Michael Pollan, Raj Patel, Anna Lappe, Gary Paul Nabhan, and Marion Nestle, among others. (See quotes in release below). The central theme uniting this diverse coalition is a shared sense of urgency to resist the corporate consolidation of food systems and create socially and environmentally just local solutions.

"Nothing is more important than the food we eat and the family farmers who grow it," said Willie Nelson, Founder and President of Farm Aid. "Corporate control of our food system has led to the loss of millions of family farmers, destruction of our soil, pollution of our water and health epidemics of obesity and diabetes. We simply cannot afford it. Our food system belongs in the hands of many family farmers, not under the control of a handful of corporations."

From Brazil, Hungary, Ireland, and Argentina to dozens of states in the US, thousands of people will be participating in the February 27 global day of action.  Participants will be reclaiming unused bank-owned lots to create community gardens; hosting seed exchanges in front of stock exchanges; labeling products on grocery store shelves that have genetically engineered ingredients; building community alliances to supportlocally owned grocery stores and resist Walmart megastores; and protesting food giants Monsanto and Cargill.

“Occupy our Food Supply is a day to reclaim our most basic life support system – our food – from corporate control. It is an unprecedented day of solidarity to create local, just solutions that steer our society away from the stranglehold of industrial food giants like Cargill and Monsanto,” said Ashley Schaeffer, Rainforest Agribusiness campaigner with Rainforest Action Network (RAN), of the day of action,

Never have so few corporations been responsible for more of our food chain. Of the 40,000 food items in a typical US grocery store, more than half are now brought to us by just 10 corporations. Today, three companies process more than 70 percent of all U.S. beef, Tyson, Cargill andJBS.[1] More than ninety percent of soybean seeds and 80 percent of corn seeds used in the United States are sold by just one company: Monsanto. Four companies are responsible for up to 90 percent of the globaltrade in grain. And one in four food dollars is spent at Walmart.

The overwhelming support for Occupy our Food Supply underscores the unity between farmers, parents, health care professionals, human rights activists, food justice advocates and food lovers around the world who are increasingly viewing their concerns as different manifestations of the same underlying problem: a food system structured for short term profit instead of the long term health of people and the planet.

Supporting groups include: Bay Localize, Berkeley Association for Animal Advocacy, Biosafety Alliance, California Food and Justice Coalition, Chiapas Support Committee, Family Farm Defenders, Food Democracy Now, Food First, National Family Farms Coalition, PAN (Pesticide Action Network), Pesticide Watch, Planting Justice, Occupy Big Food, Occupy Claremont, Occupy Cargill, Occupy DC, Occupy Delaware, Occupy Denver, Occupy Farms, Occupy for Animal Rights, Occupy Fort Lauderdale, Occupy Food, OccupyGardens Toronto, Occupy Jacksonville, Occupy Maine, Occupy MN/Seeds of Change, Occupy Monsanto, Occupy Philly (Occupy Vacant Lots), Occupy Portland, OWS-Food Justice
OWS Puppets, OWS Sustainability, Occupy Santa Cruz, Occupy SF Environmental Justice Working Group, and Occupy the Food System- Oakland, among many others.

See list of supporting organizations and individuals below. For more information on the events planned for Occupy our Food Supply, visit

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Somalia's Rich Maritime Resources Being Plundered, Report Says

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 21, 2012 (IPS) - The international community has failed to grapple with the real underlying political and economic issues facing the troubled East African nation of Somalia, which has been surviving without an effective government for over two decades, according to a new study released here.

With the country's 3,300-km coastline virtually unprotected, industrial fishing vessels from Europe and Asia have entered the area in large numbers and are plundering Somalia's rich maritime resources.

With the country's 3,300-km coastline virtually unprotected, industrial fishing vessels from Europe and Asia have entered the area in large numbers and are plundering Somalia's rich maritime resources. Authored by Suzanne Dershowitz and James Paul, the report was released ahead of a high-level international conference on Somalia scheduled to take place in London Feb. 23. More


Monday, February 20, 2012

Models Underestimate Future Temperature Variability: Food Security at Risk

ScienceDaily (Feb. 17, 2012) — Climate warming caused by greenhouse gases is very likely to increase the variability of summertime temperatures around the world by the end of this century, a University of Washington climate scientist said Friday. The findings have major implications for food production.

Current climate models do not adequately reflect feedbacks from the relationship between the atmosphere and soil, which causes them to underestimate the increase of variability in summertime temperatures, said David Battisti, a UW professor of atmospheric sciences.

While warmer temperatures already have implications for food production in the tropics, the new findings suggest the increase in the volatility of summertime temperatures will have serious effects in grain-growing regions of Europe and North and South America, Battisti said.

"If there's greater variability, the odds of the temperature being so high that you can't grow a crop are greater," he said. "In terms of regional and global food security, it's not good news."

Battisti presented his findings at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Vancouver, Canada. His discussion was part of a panel on climate and global food security that included Rosamond Naylor of Stanford University and Daniel Vimont of the University of Wisconsin, with whom he has collaborated on previous food security research. More


Sunday, February 19, 2012

FOA Expert: Adopt 'Climate Smart' Agriculture

AN expert from the Food and Agriculture Office (FAO) is pitching calls for the adoption of “climate-smart agriculture” to address the twin challenges of achieving food security and climate change.

Hideki Kanamaru of the Climate, Energy and Tenure Division (NRC) of the FAO told participants of the APEC Symposium on Climate Change held at the Shangri-la Hotel in Manila last week that there is a need to transform agricultural systems to achieve productivity that will support national food security and development goals of APEC member economies.

Transforming agricultural systems means intensifying production systems that will empower farmers to avail themselves of and effectively apply technologies and techniques that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, particularly in irrigated rice production.

Hosted by the Philippines through the Department of Agriculture, the symposium dubbed “Adaptation Strategies with Mitigation Potential for Food and Water Security was attended by policy makers and implementers, researchers, scientists and practitioners from APEC economies and selected organizations.

Alicia Ilaga, focal person of the Department of Agriculture – APEC and Climate Change office said the symposium intended to initiate and sustain information exchange among resource speakers and participating APEC economies on adaptation strategies in agriculture with mitigation potentials.

Kanamaru said FAO is promoting “climate-smart agriculture,” a concept to transform agricultural to enhance the achievement of national food security and development goals in the face of climate change.

Climate-smart agriculture consists of three major pillars: sustainably intensified production systems to achieve productivity increases, climate- change adaptation, and climate-change mitigation.

Adoption of new technologies such as adaptation and mitigation practices, however, is faced with several limitations such as lack of tenure, security and limited property rights which may hinder adoption of practices, he said. More


Monday, February 6, 2012

The seed emergency: The threat to food and democracy

 New Delhi, India - The seed is the first link in the food chain - and seed sovereignty is the foundation of food sovereignty. 
In India, 95 per cent of cotton seeds are reportedly controlled by Monsanto, a US biotechnology corporation [EPA]

If farmers do not have their own seeds or access to open pollinated varieties that they can save, improve and exchange, they have no seed sovereignty - and consequently no food sovereignty.
The deepening agrarian and food crisis has its roots in changes in the seed supply system, and the erosion of seed diversity and seed sovereignty.
Seed sovereignty includes the farmer’s rights to save, breed and exchange seeds, to have access to diverse open source seeds which can be saved - and which are not patented, genetically modified, owned or controlled by emerging seed giants. It is based on reclaiming seeds and biodiversity as commons and public good.
 Farmer suicides spike in India
The past twenty years have seen a very rapid erosion of seed diversity and seed sovereignty, and the concentration of the control over seeds by a very small number of giant corporations. In 1995, when the UN organised the Plant Genetic Resources Conference in Leipzig, it was reported that 75 per cent of all agricultural biodiversity had disappeared because of the introduction of “modern” varieties, which are always cultivated as monocultures. Since then, the erosion has accelerated. More