Navdanya International: Experts met to draft a manifesto on Food For Health
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Last month, experts from around the world met at a conference in Florence in order to work on drafting a manifesto on “Food for Health”. The meeting was introduced by Caroline Lockhart, vice president of Navdanya International, who also reviewed the steps that led to the establishment of the International Commission for the Future of Food and Agriculture.
Once developed, the Manifesto, dealing with important issues like toxicity of the industrial food system, global production and distribution systems, defense of biodiversity and right to health, will be disseminated to farmers and citizens, governments and stakeholders around the world. The draft aims at highlighting theinseparable link between food and health, developing comprehensive strategies to overcome the model of industrial agriculture, encouraging the convergence and action of the movement for Agroecology and Public Health movements to reach a common vision of sustainable development, which must be equitable and inclusive.
The importance of finding alternatives to the industrial agriculture model
“The current health crisis has roots in the same system that has contributed to the ecological crisis", commented Vandana Shiva, President of Navdanya International, at the end of the two days of work on the drafting of the manifesto on “Food for Health”. The ecologist and Indian scientist continued by pointing the finger at the industrial agriculture model: "Desertification, climate change, biodiversity loss, water pollution. 75% of today’s ecological problems and new epidemics are related to agrotoxics and fossil fuel agriculture.”
Dr Shiva also talked about the issue of integrating systems: “It is important to find alternatives, which are useful for both the planet and the people. The health of the planet and the health of the people are one. Alternatives do exist and are based on regenerating health of the earth through agro-ecology, conservation of biodiversity, promotion of local economies and food systems “from field to table”. Health, starting with the soil, to plants, animals and humans must be the organizing principle and the aim of agriculture, commerce, science, of our lives and of international trade.”
Focus on a new agricultural and economic paradigm
Since the foundation of the International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture, the Commission, through its Manifestos and publications, with Navdanya International, has focused on promoting a new agricultural and economic paradigm as well as the belief that solutions to the multiple crises facing humanity today can come from a determined shift away from the present profit and competitive-based paradigm to a model that has at its keystone the protection of the earth and environment and respect of the rights and dignity of people. “Our times require adaptation, resilience and critical thinking, and the defence of our democracies and common goods for a brighter and more equitable future for all.”