How to Defeat Big Agriculture

For small farmers — and those who pay attention to things like climate change, food systems and water — the answers to ecological sustainability are right under our feet:

Dirt. Soil. Ground. Land.

Community control of these precious resources (terrestrial ecosystems, forests and biodiversity) is critical to achieving “Life on Land,” as Goal 15 is known.

The major threat facing life on land, small farmers and those of us who eat (aka all of us) is the global expansion of large-scale, industrial agriculture. Under the guise of the “Green Revolution” and false-promises to “feed the world,” industrial agriculture (think Monsanto, Cargill) is hell-bent on expanding these toxic, monocultural practices.

Half of all greenhouse gases are produced by the global-food system, according to the respected international agriculture-research organization, GRAIN. And that’s saying something, since transportation and power plants account for massive amounts of pollution that endanger our planet.

Valdir Misnerovicz, a member of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (MST) spoke about ecological sustainability in stark terms, describing two forces at play in the world right now that he called “the project of death” (i.e., the extraction and exploitation inherent to global capitalism) versus “the project of life” (i.e., solidarity, sustainability, support). “The project of death doesn’t care about people, it only cares about capital; it doesn’t want to produce food, it wants to produce products… and big profits.”

The legacy of industrial agriculture has pushed millions of farmers into debt and hunger, using an industrial model that relies heavily on expensive and toxic chemicals and pesticides.

For Valdir, the better choice is obvious: “Small farmers don’t produce commodities, they produce food. Small farming is the farming of hope.”

Indeed, 70 percent of the world’s food is still produced by small farmers, according to the ETC Group, using only 30 percent of the world’s —> Read More