More evidence that organic foods and related agro-ecological systems are “medicine” to a sick world and sick people...it’s the SOLUTION
The month of November is here with us…it marks the beginning of a time of reflection of the journey we have travelled thus far….as December beckons. What have we learnt so far?
Find some science backed organic friendly findings:
- That indeed, ORGANIC foods, grown in diversified ecosystems and leveraging Mother Nature’s inherent patters and systems, is the way to “heal” both humanity and the planet.https://viacampesina.org/en/agroecology-way-life-struggle-resistance-capitalism/
- Do we have any evidence that organic (free from pesticides and agro-chemicals) foods have medicinal benefits and applications? YES: Take the example of Bitter Melon which can treat pancreatic cancer and diabetes…normalizing blood sugar levels without the side effects of manufactured chemical drugs: http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/bitter-melon-can-treat-pancreatic-cancer-and-diabetes/?
- Here is locally researched and shared evidence, targeting organic farmers and consumers: Check page 5 of the publication: http://theorganicfarmer.org/sites/default/files/TOF%20No%20144%20May%202017.pdf
- And here is more evidence of food as medicine, including; Garlic, Honey, Apple, Sunlight and Turmeric: https://foodrevolution.org/blog/5-food-medicines-possibly-save-life/?
What is the way forward?
Here are some key recommendations from The Global Science, Technology and Innovation Conference (G-STIC) 2017 (www.gstic.org) held in Brussels from 23rd to 25th October, demonstrating more recognition and appreciation of agro-ecological approaches as the SOLUTION.
- ‘Industrial agriculture’– the input-intensive crop monocultures and industrial-scale animal feedlots that dominate agriculture – has successfully produced large volumes of foods, but this has come at a great cost to the environment, human health and animal welfare, while doing little to address the root causes of poverty and hunger.
- Negative outcomes have been generated on multiple fronts, such as persistent undernourishment and malnutrition while others are obese and overweight; environmental degradation and pollution that threaten the resource base that agriculture depends on; loss of agricultural biodiversity; high greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change; inequities in access to food; and the marginalization of smallholder farmers, their practices, rights and knowledge systems.
- What is needed is a paradigm shift towards diversified agro-ecological systems. Agroecology applies ecological principles to the design and management of agro-ecosystems. Its technologies diversify farms and farming landscapes, increase biodiversity, nurture soil health, enhance recycling, promote ecosystem services and stimulate interactions between different species, such that the farm can provide its own organic matter, pest regulation and weed control, without resort to external inputs.
- Agroecology technologies and practices have consistently proven capable of sustainably increasing productivity, rebuilding soil fertility and sustaining yields over time, providing a basis for secure farm livelihoods, especially for smallholders who constitute the majority of food producers worldwide. Evidence is particularly strong on the ability of agro-ecology to deliver strong and stable yields by building environmental and climate resilience, and in delivering production increases in the places where needed most. It can also help ensure adequate nutrition through diverse diets.
- Given the challenges of climate change to agriculture, agroecology technologies and practices are particularly important as they diversify farms and landscapes, build complexity into the system to provide vital ecosystem services, increase organic matter and ensure good soil structure, and improve water harvesting and water storage. This provides farmers a means to spread risks during adverse and extreme weather events, adapt to climate change and build climate resilience. At the same time, many of the practices can also contribute to mitigation in the agriculture sector.
- Agroecology is a science, movement and practice that draws on social, biological and agricultural sciences and integrates these with traditional knowledge, farmers’ knowledge and indigenous peoples’ knowledge and cultures. Its technologies are knowledge-intensive rather than capital-intensive, and it is based on techniques that are not delivered top-down, but developed on the basis of farmers’ knowledge and experimentation, and through farmer-researcher participatory approaches.
- Women play pivotal roles in cultivating and providing food and nutrition, holding knowledge about seeds, agricultural biodiversity and agroecology technologies. Nonetheless, women and girls across the globe continue to face many constraints and inequities based on gender. Overcoming gender inequalities and empowering women can have powerful social and economic impacts, delivering significant improvements to agricultural production, food security, child nutrition, health and education.
- Agroecology technologies and practices are able to meet key technology assessment criteria: they are technically feasible, low-cost and affordable, socially acceptable, locally adapted and environmentally sound. The principles of agroecology are applied in diverse technological forms, according to the biophysical and socio-economic needs and circumstances of farmers. Innovations are developed with the participation of farmers, through collective sharing of knowledge and know-how, and the flexible nature of the technologies allows them to respond and adapt accordingly.
- Agroecology emphasizes the capability of local communities to experiment, evaluate, and scale up innovations through farmer-to-farmer research, sharing of experiences and grassroots extension approaches. However, few resources and policy support have been directed to agroecology despite its potential to address the multiple challenges facing agriculture. The barriers to scaling up and scaling out agroecology need to be addressed, while a facilitative policy environment is needed to effect change and ensure greater impacts.
- Support for agroecology needs to be based on recognition that some technologies, innovations and knowledge systems developed by farmers and indigenous peoples are on par with those generated in formal institutions. Recognition of diverse sources of knowledge builds on acceptance of farmers as equal partners in research and development, not mere passive users of technologies generated by academia, government institutions and the private sector.
- Agroecology could significantly contribute to achieving the SDGs in an integrated, comprehensive and holistic manner that will directly involve and benefit those whom the 2030 Agenda aims to uplift. It has strong potential to contribute to meeting SDG 2’s specific targets, such as: ending hunger and malnutrition, doubling agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, ensuring sustainable food production systems and implementing resilient agricultural practices, and maintaining the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species. In addition, it can contribute to many of the other SDGs.