Food democracy

Nothing but corn in Iowa. So I did some serious weeding and hoeing of corn this weekend……..Of white corn. Not the regular uneatable corn which goes into feed fodder, energy production or corn sweetener. These immense fields are round-up ready anyway. The corn grown in the community garden in Marshall town (see blog) can be eaten, it will be used to make corn flour tortillas.

my garden in wageningen

my garden in wageningen

It has been a wet summer so far. So weed is quite a challenge for the starting community gardeners. I was glad I could help out; a sort of substitution for missing my own 20 m2 in Wageningen.

 

Self sustenance in food. Once a dismissed and declining (if we could help them) ‘farming system’. Bound to disappear under influence of progress; by ever increasing economies of scale and market integration. However, self sustenance or small scale production is loosing its negative connotation of backwardness. It is being redefined and revalued in both developed and developing countries, in both urban and rural circumstances (see yeomanry).

Our global agro-food industry has not been able to reduce hunger as it privileges capital accumulation for already wealthy elites while externalizing environmental and social costs to societies. The consolidation of power in the food chain, the world food crisis and environmental degradation have instigated a variety of movements towards self reliance and community focus, towards returning to a scale which can be influenced. It can be seen as a re-appropriation of a sense of self determination and autonomy to increase resilience of livelihoods and to reduce dependence on situations with high levels of power asymmetries.

While we do not accept anything less than democracy to rule our societies we are nearly being ruled by autocracy in the food chain, hidden behind the myth of ‘consumer choice’. The diversity of food and farming initiatives emerging, points to a process of democratizing food, the people’s right to

“healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems” (Food First)

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3 Responses

  1. Hi Petra,

    Who is taking care of your garden while you’re abroad?! I really enjoy reading your posts on our weblog, keep writing!

    Regards, Pieter

  2. Hoi Petra.

    Leuk om jouw tuin op de computer te zien via Amerika en ziet er goed uit. Is alles goed daar en heb je het naar de zin. Groetjes uit Groessen

  3. [...] One aspect that is missing in the quote above is that urban agriculture is, unlike the form of agriculture now proposed under the label of metropolitan agriculture, a form of food production that centres around notions of food democracy and food sovereignty (see also Petra’s recent blog). [...]

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