I am posting this video (made by INCUPO -the organization that I´m accompanying this year) because the images and music (chamamé) offer a glimpse into the what the ferias francas (farmers markets) and daily life are like here. Also, you can listen to my coworker Pope´s melodious voice! I realize most of you will not be able to understand what is being said in this video so I will do my best to summarize it here.
Alimento Campesino, Vida Sana, Hoy y Mañana
Food grown by small-scale farmers, healthy life, today and tomorrow.
Food security is different than food sovereignty because food security refers to the ability to access the basic level of nutrition necesary for human survival. However, food security does not take into account the agency of the people growing or eating the food, in terms of where it´s coming, what kind of food it is, and how it is grown. This matters because the impacts of macro-level food systems can have devestating affects on rural economies, the environment, and our health. Food sovereignty is a political term that takes a rights-based approach. The specific rights are:
1) The right to choose what food to produce. The right to produce diverse, healthy, and culturally appropriate crops, animal products, and elaborated foods.
2) The right to access food free from both genetic manipulation and from harmful chemicals that could result in negative health effects.
3) The right to be informed about the food that one is eating and where it comes from. The right to have appropriate and transparent laws and governmental policies that guarantee the protection and promotion of one´s health as it relates to food.
4) The right of a country and its inhabitants to supply itself with diverse and healthy food grown in-country on family farms and produced in an environmentally-consious manner.
Strengthening local economies by supporting family farms ensures a higher quality of life for people in rural as well as urban areas. It decreases the high rates of urbanization as people in rural areas are no longer subject to the same degree of economic forces driving them to migrate to cities in search of work. Money generated within local economies stays local, bringing benefits to the entire community.
Locally grown food from family farms provides fresh, healthy, and culturally appropriate food. It is environmentally sustainable. It avoids the use of agro-chemicals and conservatives that negatively impact the natural ecology of water and soil systems. Local famers also use native seeds that are free and equally accessible to everyone.
Personal relationships are created directly between food producers and food consumers at farmers markets. Since food is sold directly to the consumer instead of going through an intermediary, diverse, fresh, and healthy food is available at a more economical price to consumers while farmers earn a greater profit. [··Personal note: price inflation is a big deal here. Our volunteer stipend was recently raised due to the massive increase in food prices in the span of just a few months. Unfortunately, as a whole, wages and salaries do not increase to compensate for rampant inflation. Quick read on food prices: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-16/argentina-to-tighten-food-price-controls-as-inflation-quickens.html ]
Local supply and exchange systems give independence and agency to small-scale farmers while consumers have access to know where and how their food was produced. -And everyone benefits from the fairer prices as well.
Everyone has a part in strengthening food soverignty: countries, regulatory agencies, and consumers.
Family farm food production is oriented at sustaining life -not at generating capital. We have the right to strengthen these food markets and exercise our food sovereignty.