An international audience and over fifty grass roots groups including The CSA network, Hungry for Rights, The Scottish Crofters Federation, Hands on the Land,Tristram Stuart, The Land Workers Alliance ,their international affiliated group Via Campesina, The Slow Food Movement Director Carlos Cardini and many many others met at the Expo do Popoli in Milan to discuss the issue of food over a three day conference in early June 2015.
The message delivered by Via Campesina, “It is we that will feed the future, not the multi-national exhibiting at the Milan Expo”. The main conference the Milan Expo runs from May to October showcases hundreds of large scale food producers from around the world and fails to give attention to the issue that 70% of the worlds food is produced by small scale producers. And who can live on Coca Cola and Mac Donald’s burgers? Multi-nationals such as these are some of the main exhibitors at this event.
Small Scale farmer and spokes person for Via Campesina, Elizabeth Mpofu from Zimbabwe talked about the issue of seeds. “We want to be able to save our native seeds”. Once common practice it is becoming increasingly difficult in many countries throughout the world to save your own seed and either sell or trade it. Some of the new laws are turning peasants into criminals or forcing people to become victims of a highly capitalist cycle whereby peasants are dependent on buying seeds year in year out.
Carlos Cardini from the slow food movement reminded us that “we have food thanks to 50,000000 family farmers”, he went on to tell us about how before the times of industrialized agriculture peasants would rarely die of hunger but now the reality is much harsher. Peasants are now often engaged in systems that produce one type of food, in times when crops fail, or there are fluctuations in the market they can struggle to feed themselves. This might be why hunger has actually increased in the last five years, contrary to aims set by the UN to end hunger by 2015.
Written by Tasha Elena Tucker- Vallecillo, Land Workers Alliance
To find out more go to http://viacampesina.org/en/