Steve Eggleston reports:
Hippity Hip Hooray for Seed Sovereignty
Sandwiched between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year, a wonderful thing happened. On December 17, 2018, 121 members of the United Nations showed some courage and foresight: they approved (over 8 nays and 52 abstentions) the Declaration of the Rights of Peasants and other People Working in Rural Areas.
It is called the Peasant’s Rights Declaration, but what it pertains to is seeds and “seed sovereignty.” For the first time in human history, small farmers worldwide now have an important international tool in the field of seed biodiversity. Put another way, it officially provides human rights protections to farmers whose diverse, natural seeds that grow so much of our organic fruits and vegetables are at risk.
There are too many people to thank for finally getting the Declaration passed, but our hat goes off especially the brave folks at the international peasant alliance known as La Via Campesina, who work tirelessly for peasants’ right and have committed 17 years of diplomatic work to this cause. That’s an epic struggle. Truly, small farmers, family farms, indigenous peoples, and lovers of the organic foods everywhere can look to these people as heroes for saving the planet.
Now, one might say, sounds wonderful, but why is that even necessary? We all love the family farm. It’s a part of the warm (though sometimes controversial) history of many countries. John Steinbeck even wrote a Pulitzer-Prize winning novel about the American farm, The Grapes of Wrath, which became a powerful movie starring Henry Fonda as Tom Joad (after which the IRS and FBI harassed Steinbeck the rest of his life for criticizing capitalism).
Ah, the necessity. As readers in this field so painfully know, for decades now Big Food and Big Seed have been secretly waging war on seed sovereignty. Through special interest influence, governments and big corporations have been trying to kill off seed biodiversity. As Greenbiz.com points out, they want to replace all natural seeds with the commercial varieties they own and which are richly produced under the spray of 900 synthetic OCs (pesticides, etc.).
Not enough people appreciate how much time, effort, and devotion the strong-bodied small farmers do to bring us organic food, but if you want the gory details of what we’d have without them, go here and read this article from interdisciplinary toxicity, entitled “impact of pesticide use in agriculture: their benefits and hazards.”
And for those of you who would simply prefer to enjoy the moment, we’d love to send to you to the smile factory at Seeds of Happiness, where we know John Steinbeck too would be smiling if he were able to take the visit today 😊
Topics: Food, Health, Human Rights
photo: Sacred Margins