• When industrial food fails us, it's time to change the food system

    Blogpost by Alessandro Saccoccio - May 19, 2015 at 11:49 Add comment

    The current food system is broken. We all see how industrial and chemical intensive food production impacts on people and farmers, the planet and animals.

    For example, did you know that in 2007, 269 tonnes of pesticides were used in industrial agriculture globally per hour? This is the equivalent of the size of 9 fully loaded (shipping) containers per hour.

    In 2007, 269 tonnes of pesticides were used in industrial agriculture globally per hour.

    Or did you know that roughly one third of the food produced globally is wasted along the supply chain from field to plate? For example, 149,467,642 people could be fed with the food wasted in 1 year in Europe, roughly the population of Germany, Italy and Austria together.

    149,467,642 people could be fed with the food wasted in 1 year in Europe.

    Also, the amount of water used to produce meat and dairy that a person consumes in one year (403,000 liters) is the same as if this person took 17 showers a day or 6,190 showers in that year.

    The amount of water used to produce the amount of meat/dairy 1 person consumes in 1 year is 403,000 liters.

    It might be impossible to count up the impacts of industrial and chemical intensive agriculture. We see that these examples – or as we call them, 'food fails' – are the tip of the iceberg of the broken food system we currently have. Actually, people everywhere are beginning to see these kinds of examples not as isolated incidents, but as clear signs of a global and systemic failure in how food is industrially produced today.

    The good news is that we can change the system and build on innovative food production model, based on the principles of ecological farming. Ecological farming puts people at its heart. It produces healthy food for all without exposing the environment and people to unnecessary chemicals or creating large scale fields of the same crop where farmers become workers and biodiversity suffers. Ecological farming, in fact, enhances nature and biodiversity, rather than destroying it, and bridges the latest scientific innovations with local farmers' knowledge.

    More good news is that we can all do something directly that helps make the change from destructive industrial farming to people-centric ecological farming. Food For Life. 04/15/2015 © Peter Caton / Greenpeace

    When each one of us chooses to take a personal step like buying ecological, local and seasonal food, or shopping at farmers markets, or eating less meat, in fact we are bringing together our individual actions in a way that can change markets and change politics. The sum of these actions makes it impossible for governments around the world to neglect people's quest for healthy food and a healthy planet. The growing people powered food movement creates demand to scale up ecological farming with adequate funds and investments.

    We are in the best position to begin reclaiming our food and we can all do our share. Take action today on www.iknowwhogrewit.org and join the global food movement.

    Alessandro Saccoccio is a food campaigner at Greenpeace International.