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Food Sovereignity: Good Food for All

Anyone who deals with the topic of agriculture and climate will realize that agriculture is both the cause and the victim of the climate crisis. However, agriculture cannot simply be abolished or replaced. But can it be made more climate-resistant and climate-friendly?

Agriculture and the Climate Crisis

What's the impact of the climate crisis on agriculture?
Agriculture is probably the most important economic sector, as it produces the food that keeps us all alive. However, agriculture, along with food security and the livelihoods of many people, have been increasingly exposed to the consequences of the climate crisis in recent years. This is because the climate crisis has resulted in droughts and other extreme weather events that reduce yields. Regions in the Global South that already experience more severe droughts are also much more affected by the consequences of the climate crisis. In recent years, this has also been observed in Europe.

What's the impact of agriculture on the climate crisis?
At the same time, agriculture is also a contributor to the climate crisis. We consume more land, water and nutrients than planet Earth provides us with. Industrial agriculture leads to the destruction of biodiversity with the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Forests are cut down and peatlands destroyed to create fields, resulting in high CO2 emissions. Overall, 37 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to the global food system. Even here, there are global inequalities. More than 30 percent of the food imported for European consumption comes from tropical countries where forests and habitats are destroyed for cultivation.

What's agriculture got to do with the food crisis?
While intensive agriculture is partly responsible for the destruction of the earth, around 800 million people worldwide still suffer from hunger. Yet, there are enough resources available for everyone to be fed.  The hunger crisis is primarily caused by wars, the climate crisis and an unjust food system that favors industrial agriculture over small-scale farming. Capitalism is primarily the reason for all of this.

Climate Smart Agriculture: A False Solution

Back in 2009, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (external link, opens in a new window) came up with the concept of "climate-smart agriculture". It was meant to overcome the issues of agriculture, food security and the climate. The concept contains various ideas and proposes solutions to solve these problems. However, this is where the criticism begins. The Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (external link, opens in a new window) is open to anyone, without precisely defining what exactly "climate-smart agriculture" should be. Methods resulting in deforestation, the use of synthetic fertilizers or increasing meat production are all welcome here. This is why the concept is strongly criticized by many farmers' organizations worldwide.

Can Emitted Carbon Be Stored in Soils?

The storage of carbon in soils through agricultural use is a method that is receiving a lot of attention. The aim is to store more carbon in the soil than CO2 is emitted. To understand exactly how this works and what it means, take a look at the pictures with explanations on this image slider.


Carbon in the Soil...How Does It Actually Work?

After learning about the background of carbon storage in soil, are you ready to test your newfound knowledge in this quiz?


Is carbon in the soil the solution?

Carbon in the Soil: The Solution?

What Is Food Sovereignty?

To ensure that agriculture doesn't harm people and their environment, it is important that people that consume and produce the food can also decide what they want to grow and how. Food sovereignty embodies exactly this idea. When food sovereignty is achieved, everyone has the right to food, and food does not have to be a commodity. Food providers should be valued, respected and protected, and food systems should be localized. An example of a successful idea for food sovereignty in India is Godavari Dange's one-acre model.

The Alternative: The One-Acre Model

In India, droughts are a problem. They are caused by the climate crisis, among other things. Godavi Dange was also confronted with this. She has put her work into NGOs that spread the "one-acre model" to support women who had no other way of feeding their families during the drought. This is a solution to the problem of food insecurity caused by drought. In this video, made out of the graphic novel by Reetika Revathy Subramanian and Maitri Dore, you can learn more about their story and the alternative of the "one-acre-model". For example, why it is women in particular who are supported by this model.


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Resistance: „Our Land is worth more than carbon“

The idea of storing carbon in the soil as a solution to the climate crisis has been met with much criticism worldwide. Many agricultural and farming groups joined forces at the COP22 climate conference in Marrakesh in 2016 and launched a petition to oppose plans to store carbon in the soil. You can read an excerpt here. Next to the text, you will find the words missing from the petition. Match them to the correct blank spaces.


Drag the Words: Our Land is worth more than your carbon

Excerpt from the petition "Our Land is worth more than carbon"

Sources: Food Sovereignity: Good Food for All

Using and Sharing!

This article is part of the series Exiting the Crisis! - Understanding Crises and Paths to Global Justice, which was produced in cooperation with Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie (external link, opens in a new window). Online Editing by Alina Kopp. This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons License CC BY 4.0 (external link, opens in a new window)! Share, use or adapt it for your educational work. Don't forget to republish it under the same conditions and mention L!NX and the authors.

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Food Sovereignity: Good Food for All

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