Action - 29 August 2017

en - Every little helps

Climate change is the biggest challenge we have ever faced yet part of the response could be that `small is beautiful’.

Where food is concerned this seems to be true. 70% of the food produced globally comes from small scale farms and they have been shown to be more productive than the equivalent size using industrial farming techniques. What is more these industrial techniques are shown to lead to soil depletion and loss of precious topsoil, loss of biodiversity and reduced resilience against extreme climate events.

The way we produce and distribute food, production, processing and transport, creates almost 50% of all global carbon emissions! this is due to monocultures such as soya and palm oil, use of pesticides and fossil fuel based fertilisers as well as long food supply chains and food processing and packaging. The world needs to decarbonise well before the middle century if catastrophic climate change is to be avoided. It is clear this needs to be worked on urgently.

There is a call for the United Nations for a system wide initiative promoting agroecology as a central strategy in addressing climate change. The FAO is calling for a major international gathering which would tackle hunger and climate change at the same time.

This June it has been estimated that 8 million people in England suffer from food insecurity including a high number of children; yet obesity rates are troubling the government. Something is very wrong, our food system needs to radically change. At the same time a report was published this month on line, `A People’s Food policy’ as the situation may well get worse in England post Brexit (Scotland has its own policy).

This is an initiative mobilising a coalition of many groups in the UK who are pushing for a progressive framework which aims to work towards food sovereignity, agroecology, better food distribution and recognising the `right to food’.

What a contrast to the unrelenting campaign of one or two large transnational companies aiming to take over the world’s food supply and exploit it for profit by means of its land grabbing, privatising seed, vast monocultures, fertilisers and chemical pesticides and misleading us to think GM will feed the world.

The peoples of Africa and Asia still have many small family farms serving local areas. They need to be protected. There are very few left in America and Europe. In England they are decreasing all the time. Yet small scale farming with diversified production serving local markets has been shown to increase biodiversity, improve the water cycle, regenerate the soil and increase resilience against flooding, while the food produced this way helps our health and vitality as essential nutrients are present.

When it comes to food production small is beautiful, small and organic is very beautiful Every little helps. In Twickenham we are growing herbs, lettuce, tomatoes and peppers, a little soft fruit, not much but at least we are trying to care for the soil…….and it is a tiny symbolic start.

Every little helps. `We need a new sustainable agricultural revolution’ UN report 2017. We do indeed. Both for better food production but also it would be a great help to mitigate climate change. Good soil captures carbon.

For further information: - Global justice A People’s Food policy at

Jessica Gatty r.a.