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Our current industrial global food production-to-consumption system maintains a "just in time" food security paradigm - a food system that neither accounts from where food comes from, its methods of production, its nutritional diversity nor its cultural relevance. While there is enough food available to meet global demand, there are several alarming facts we cannot ignore:​

  • According to the 2021 Food and Agricultural Organization's annual report The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, almost 800 million people go hungry or are malnourished, and 1 in 3 people are moderately to severely food insecure;
  • Diminishing global biodiversity coupled with industrial agriculture contributes 25-30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions;
  • There are fewer corporations controlling larger segments of food production (i.e. seeds, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, land ownership) and distribution (bulk purchases, value-chains, wholesale and retail management and sales);
  • Small-scale family farms, which grow up to 54% of our food globally that continue to shift their production to grow commodity crops to satisfy an export market (i.e. strawberries from Egypt, bananas from the Dominican Republic, Quinoa from Ecuador, U.S. corn to feed cattle), are ironically among the most food insecure people in the world.

We invited Geneviève Savigny and Max Ajl to join Debating Development in a conversation to discuss the roots and the ongoing imperial domination of our food system. They will take a critical look at highly publicized food production-to-consumption 'alternatives' (i.e. Slow Food, organics and FairTrade) and offer what farmers and concerned citizens are proposing instead. They will discuss what is meant to slow down our food production-to-consumption system, and how that can foster global solidarity within a just and sovereign food system. The webinar will be hosted by Danya Nadar, PhD candidate at the Institute of Development Policy (IOB), University of Antwerp.

Being a farmer for some 30 years in the Southern Alps in France, Geneviève Savigny runs a free range chicken farm with her companion as well as arable farms 60 hectares of dry and sloping land. As a member of the French farmers Union the « Confédération paysanne », she was part of the Coordinating committee of the European Coordination Via Campesina  from 2009 to 2018. During this time, she was involved in agriculture and food policies and the promotion of food sovereignty at European level. She was also involved in the discussion on the «Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas»  adopted by the United Nations General assembly in December 2018. She was a member of the European Economic and Social Committee from 2015 to 2020.

Max Ajl is a postdoctoral fellow at the Rural Sociology Group at Wageningen University and an associated researcher at the Tunisian Observatory for Food Sovereignty and the Environment. He is an associate editor at Agrarian South and Journal of Labor and Society, and has written for The Journal of Peasant Studies and the Review of African Political Economy. His book, A People’s Green New Deal, was published in 2021 with Pluto Press.

The event will be moderated by Danya Nadar, PhD candidate at the Institute of Development Policy (IOB), University of Antwerp