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Archive for the ‘food’ Category

 

In this talk David Holmgren provides a concise overview of permaculture thinking. He sees permaculture as a creative response to the oncoming period of energy descent where the use of non-renewable and slowly renewable resources will by necessity come drastically down. The goal of permaculture is not so much to approach a steady-state plateau of resource use, but to initiate an ongoing process of natural regeneration. In discussing food production, Holmgren emphasises the need to redesign not just the way we produce food, but also the ways we distribute and consume it. He goes on to outline a number of rather specific tasks to be carried out to move towards these goals. The talk was held at the Feasta Food Security Conference in Dublin on June 25, 2005.

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  1. Seed is the source of life, it is the self urge of life to express itself, to renew itself, to multiply, to evolve in perpetuity in freedom.
  2. Seed is the embodiment of bio cultural diversity. It contains millions of years of biological and cultural evolution of the past, and the potential of millennia of a future unfolding.
  3. Seed Freedom is the birth right of every form of life and is the basis for the protection of biodiversity.
  4. Seed Freedom is the birth right of every farmer and food producer. Farmers rights to save, exchange, evolve, breed, sell seed is at the heart of Seed Freedom. When this freedom is taken away farmers get trapped in debt and in extreme cases commit suicide.
  5. Seed Freedom is the basis of Food Freedom, since seed is the first link in the food chain.
  6. Seed Freedom is threatened by patents on seed, which create seed monopolies and make it illegal for farmers to save and exchange seed. Patents on seed are ethically and ecologically unjustified because patents are exclusive rights granted for an invention. Seed is not an invention. Life is not an invention.
  7. Seed Freedom of diverse cultures is threatened by Biopiracy and the patenting of indigenous knowledge and biodiversity. Biopiracy is not innovation – it is theft.
  8. Seed Freedom is threatened by genetically engineered seeds, which are contaminating our farms, thus closing the option for GMO-free food for all. Seed Freedom of farmers is threatened when after contaminating our crops, corporations sue farmer for “stealing their property”.
  9. Seed Freedom is threatened by the deliberate transformation of the seed from a renewable self generative resource to a non renewable patented commodity. The most extreme case of non renewable seed is the “Terminator Technology” developed with aim to create sterile seed.
  10. We commit ourselves to defending seed freedom as the freedom of diverse species to evolve; as the freedom of human communities to reclaim open source seed as a commons.

To this end, we will save seed, we will create community seed banks and seed libraries, we will not recognize any law that illegitimately makes seed the private property of corporations. We will stop the patents on seed.

You can sign this declaration here. See also information about the ongoing fortnight of action for Seed Freedom which runs from October 2 to October 16.

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Luke Miller Callahan interviews in this video David Holmgren, ecologist and co-originator of the concept of permaculture. Holmgren argues here that suburban areas offer better possibilities for transitioning towards more sustainable ways of life than densely populated inner city areas, since they can potentially support larger scale local food production and communal living. This, however, requires a shift in people’s notions of private space and property.

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This is a panel discussion about applying the concept of inherent rights to the ecosystem as a whole. This is seen by the panelists as a way to fight against the increasing commodification and exploitation of nature in the court of law, as well as a basis for the global environmental movement. Discussing are well-known environmentalists Vandana Shiva, Maude Barlow, Cormac Cullinan and Pablo Solon. David Harveys moderates. The panel was held at the Brecht Forum at CUNY Graduate Center on April 21, 2011.

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This is a talk by Toby Hemenway, one of the world’s leading permaculture experts, held at Duke University on February 12, 2010. Based on historical evidence, Hemenway argues that there is no way to do agriculture, as we know it today, in a sustainable fashion. Agriculture always means the destruction of the ecosystem, and thus also the destruction of the preconditions of its own continuity. The alternative Hemenway proposes is a food system based on horticulture, that is gardening, or tending what he calls food forests, natural ecosystems that are tweaked to produce more edible plants.

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In Grave Danger of Falling Food (1989) is a film about Bill Mollison, an Australian environmentalist best known as “the father of permaculture”. Permaculture is a system of design aiming at creating living environments modelled on natural ecosystems. The film also discusses the failures of modern agriculture and how a rainforest type environment with a lot of species living within a small area has the potential to produce food many times more efficiently than fields dedicated to just one crop. Even though shot over two decades ago, the ideas presented in this film are today perhaps more actual than ever. Directed by Tony Gailey and Julian Russell with music by Derek Williams.

(Sorry about the low quality VHS copy, but that’s all I could find.)

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This is an interesting talk by Cathrine Kramer and Zack Denfeld from the recently held 28th Chaos Communication Congress that looks at biotechnology and its role in the global food system from a hacker perspective. Applying the principles of hacker ethic on the ways we produce and consume food sounds like an intriguing possibility for the resistance against big agro.

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