A report from the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside (ICPPC) is proposing a rethink of modern agriculture and how to best fulfil its purpose of feeding humanity.
The Manifesto for 21st Century Food and Farming states: “It is necessary to entirely step aside from State and corporate control of the food chain Ö Maintaining and re-establishing the genuine independence of farmers throughout the world is a prerequisite for our survival as sentient, healthy human beings.”
The vision of the report is for all peoples to be fed with good quality, affordable and mostly local foods in ways that do not harm the environment. It advocates that a new understanding is required to achieve this, and is proposing “a people-led and people-owned renaissance of agriculture.”
People’s creativity and ingenuity need to be harnessed, it states, and the inspiration should be drawn from “time-honoured peasant and family farming practices that still form the foundation of self-sufficient, sustainable and ecological agricultural production throughout the world.”
Farmers should have the right to save their seeds, the report affirms, and to cultivate, distribute and trade the produce resulting from these seeds. People should also be able to maintain the biodiversity of local native plants, herbs and animals for culinary, medicinal and general environmental health. The manifesto also suggests that people need to have the right of lawful access to unused or barren land for the purpose of growing food for their own consumption in ways that do not harm the environment.
The manifesto was launched at an international seminar in ZakrzÛw, Poland, which was organised by ICPPC and drew leading food and farming campaigners. The conference was held to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of ICPPC, Poland’s leading independent voice calling for the retention of small and medium-sized family farming enterprises and the abolition of GM foods and factory farming.
ICPPC president Sir Julian Rose said: “We stand at the cusp of a watershed for food and farming: total control of the food chain by corporate agribusiness or farming for the people with the people. For those who appreciate nature and seek healthy food, we have no choice but to unite our efforts to ensure the survival of environmentally-friendly and independent family farming worldwide.”
Image: traditional farming in the Beskidy mountains in Malopolska province in Poland. Photo: © ICPPC