8:00 am, Monday, Southern Spain: “What’s for breakfast, Mom?”
Everyday, at least three times a day, we are faced with the same question: What to eat?
For almost 1 billion people in the world this is a painful question, with an uncertain answer. In fact, we are living an agricultural crisis driven by a broken food system which has an impact on all of us and our planet.
This crisis is about food and it’s about farmers and it’s about the industrial and chemical intensive food model that fuels multiple impacts, every day, all around the world.
It doesn’t have to be this way. A better future is possible, a future where food is grown according to the principles of ecological farming, a modern food system that puts people and farmers at its heart. Where people decide what to farm and eat and are not victims of a handful of global corporations. Where farming enhances nature and biodiversity, rather than destroying it, and bridges the latest scientific innovations with local farmers’ knowledge. Where food is grown without poisoning people and the environment with chemical products. You can read more about ecological farming and the principles that underpin it in Greenpeace’s Food and Farming Vision just released today.
The food choices that each one of us makes everyday can also contribute to changing the food system. This morning my daughter and I had toasted bread with tomatoes and olive oil. We live in Ayamonte, a small town in Southern Spain, and this is the traditional breakfast here, made with local and fresh ingredients. Eating bread and tomatoes is not only a breakfast but a statement. In fact, this simple but delicious meal is now getting less common, as more children are driven to processed food and milkshakes, full of strange ingredients. The bread my daughter and I eat comes mostly from a nearby bakery, using local wheat and a couple more ingredients. Often, when I have some time, I also bake my own bread with the flour I buy online from an organic farmers association from a neighbouring province.
I know most of the bread we eat is made with only five ingredients: organic wheat, yeast, salt, water — and lots of love. The love comes from the farmers who grow the wheat, trying to save local varieties and following ecological farming practices adapted to our soils and to the dry climates of our land. The love comes also from the connection between those farmers and our family, just a simple online purchase that holds the hope of a better future, where those farmers have a better living and we can be a tiny part of their success.
Eating the local and traditional breakfast is our (little) personal contribution to change the system from destructive industrial farming to people-centric ecological farming. I would invite you to take similar small – or bigger – steps. If we do it all together everyday we can move mountains. The list of things we can do as citizens, consumers or simply eaters, is long and exciting. For example, we can start by deciding what food to buy and where: shopping at farmers markets rather than supermarkets, eating less meat, buying ecological, seasonal and local food. We can avoid food waste and use all edible parts of the vegetables we buy. We can grow our own food on our balcony, garden or roof terrace.
In addition, a lot more needs to happen to achieve deep and lasting change. In fact, governments, philanthropies, and private companies, must wake up and shift their investments and policy support away from industrial agriculture and towards ecological farming.
Meanwhile the sum of our actions will make it impossible for governments around the world to neglect people’s quest for healthy food and a healthy planet.
The global movement that is fighting for a new food system keeps growing. A lot has been achieved already. Now is the time to go further. Join the food movement as well on http://ift.tt/1JBpIjs and demand a food system that puts people at its heart.
Reyes Tirado is a senior scientist at the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter, UK.
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