by GRAIN | 30 Oct 2009 | Seedling - October 2009
by GRAIN | 28 Oct 2009 | Seedling - October 2009 | Food and climate
The way that industrial agriculture has treated soils has been a key factor in provoking the current climate crisis. But soils can also be a part of the solution, to a much greater extent than is commonly acknowledged. If we could manage to put back into the world’s agricultural soils the organic matter that we have been losing because of industrial agriculture, we would capture at least one third of the current excessive CO2 in the atmosphere.
by GRAIN | 26 Oct 2009 | Seedling - October 2009
Today’s global food system, with all its high-tech seeds and fancy packaging, cannot fulfil its most basic function of feeding people. Despite this monumental failure, there is no talk in the corridors of power of changing direction. Large and growing movements of people clamour for change, but the world’s governments and international agencies keep pushing more of the same: more agribusiness, more industrial agriculture, more globalisation. As the planet moves into an accelerating period of climate change, driven, in large part, by this very model of agriculture, such failure to take meaningful action will rapidly worsen an already intolerable situation. But in the worldwide movement for food sovereignty, there is a promising way out.
by Grupo de Reflexión Rural, Biofuelwatch, EcoNexus, NOAH (FoE Denmark) | 24 Oct 2009 | Seedling - October 2009
Until now, agriculture has been largely excluded from global carbon markets, but this is set to change in December 2009 at the Copenhagen conference. Agribusiness companies are lobbying hard to make a range of farming activities eligible for future funding under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). As a result, billions of dollars will almost certainly be invested in agriculture, mainly livestock production and plantations. What makes this prospect so alarming is that this huge investment, carried out in the name of mitigating the climate crisis, will be channelled largely to big agribusiness. And it is precisely their approach to farming and food production that has created so many of the problems we face today.
by Grupo de Reflexión Rural, Biofuelwatch, EcoNexus, NOAH (FoE Denmark) | 22 Oct 2009 | Seedling - October 2009
Three activities – no-till agriculture, biochar and more intensified livestock farming with reduced methane emissions – are likely to benefit from increased funding because of their alleged role in combating global warming. What is the evidence that these activities can reduce greenhouse gas emissions? What will happen to the world’s biodiversity and the global climate if these sectors are hugely expanded? And who is likely to benefit?
by OFEDI and GRAIN | 20 Oct 2009 | Seedling - October 2009
West Africa is extremely vulnerable to climate change, in part because its agriculture is essentially rain-fed. Deeply disturbing alterations in the climate are already being noticed, and worse can be expected. If cataclysmic upheavals are to be avoided, the region needs urgently to find ways of conserving precious ecosystems and of supporting peasant farmers and other groups to use their traditional knowledge to adapt to far-reaching changes.
by GRAIN | 18 Oct 2009 | Seedling - October 2009
In June 2009 Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, a shaman from one of the communities of the 16,000 Yanomami Indians who live in the north of Brazil, near the frontier with Venezuela, travelled to Europe to talk to politicians and the press. He wanted to ensure that an indigenous voice was heard in the run-up to the Copenhagen conference in December 2009. The following are extracts from some of the interviews he gave.
by Interview with Sandy Gauntlett | 16 Oct 2009 | Seedling - October 2009
Sandy Gauntlett is an environmental activist of Maori descent. He lectures in indigenous resource management at the indigenous university of Te Wananga O Aotearoa in New Zealand. He also chairs the Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition and the Pacific Regional Focal Point for the Global Forest Coalition.
by reviews by GRAIN | 14 Oct 2009 | Seedling - October 2009
Reviews of books: The Ecological Revolution – Making Peace with the Planet, Food rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice; Let them eat junk! – how capitalism creates hunger and obesity
by GRAIN | 10 Oct 2009 | Seedling - October 2009
by GRAIN | 8 Oct 2009 | Seedling - October 2009
GRAIN is governed by a Board composed of dedicated individuals acting in their personal capacities. We do not tend to put them much in the spotlight, but they do play a crucial role in giving direction to GRAIN’s work and organisation. There is regular rotation and renewal of Board members. Recently we uploaded on to our website brief interviews with each of our current Board members, to give an idea of where they come from and what motivates them. Here we present each of them one by one.
See their introductory videos here
by Guy Kastler | 3 Oct 2009 | Seedling - October 2009
The Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture held its third session on 1–5 June 2009 in Tunis. Guy Kastler, the European delegate to La Via Campesina’s Biodiversity Commission, and representative of the Réseau Semences Paysannes of France, explains what he sees as the failures of the Treaty and the opportunities and spaces for action emerging from Tunis.
by Guy Kastler | 1 Oct 2009 | Seedling - October 2009
The Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR) held its third session on 1–5 June 2009 in Tunis. Many fine words and declarations of intent were addressed to farmers, while the seed companies consolidated both their unfettered access to all the farmers’ seeds on the planet and their monopoly over seed markets. Notwithstanding the sometimes lively clashes between countries of the South and those of the North, does this “seed treaty” offer any new opportunities to farmers?