Small scale agriculture or agricultural industry: who will bring us enough food?

Date: 8 October 2013

Venue: University of Antwerp, Stadscampus, R.002 - Rodestraat 14 - 2000 Antwerpen

Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: IOB, USOS, MO*

Short description: Debating development: Vandana Shiva (Environmental and global justice activist and writer, India) and Alexander Woollcombe (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UK. Moderator: Alma De Walsche (MO*)

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that worldwide 870 million people were chronically undernourished in 2010-2012. The vast majority of these people live in developing countries. Additionally, processes of urbanization, population growth and changing consumption patterns in upcoming economies are boosting food demands worldwide. Is the global food system capable of feeding all these mouths?

In this debate Dr. Vandana Shiva, an Indian environmental activist and eco-feminist, and  Alexander Woollcombe of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will discuss which agricultural model, small-scale or industrial, is most sustainable and appropriate to feed the world.

Dr. Vandana Shiva
Dr. Vandana Shiva is trained as a Physicist but she later shifted to inter-disciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy. Dr. Shiva has contributed in fundamental ways to changing the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food.  Her books, “The Violence of Green Revolution” and “Monocultures of the Mind” have become basic challenges to the dominant paradigm of non-sustainable, reductionist Green Revolution Agriculture. In 1991, she founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seed, the promotion of organic farming and fair trade. For last two decades Navdanya has worked with local communities and organizations serving more than 5,00,000 men and women farmers. Navdanya’s efforts have resulted in conservation of more than 3000 rice varieties from all over the country and have established 60 seed banks in 16 states across the country. Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental “hero” in 2003 and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators of Asia. In November 2010, Forbes magazine identified Dr. Vandana Shiva as one of the top Seven most Powerful Women on the Globe. Among her many awards are the Alternative Nobel Prize (Right Livelihood Award, 1993), Order of the Golden Ark, the Global 500 Award of the UN, the Earth Day International Award, the Lennon ONO grant for peace award by Yoko Ono in 2009, the Sydney Peace Prize in 2010, the Doshi Bridgebuilder Award, the Calgary Peace Prize and the Thomas Merton Award in the year 2011, the Fukuoka Award  and The Prism of Reason Award in 2012.




Alexander Woollcombe
Alexander Woollcombe leads the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's UK and EU External Relations in London. He was previously the Senior UK Government Relations Manager as well as interim EU Director at the ONE campaign, an advocacy organisation founded by Bono and Bob Geldof that fights extreme poverty in Africa. Woollcombe has also worked for Oxfam in Ethiopia and Senegal on policy and communications. Prior to that, he worked for the Conservative Party, the EU and Peace Child International in West Africa, Brussels, India and South America. He holds an MA degree in History from the University of Edinburgh.


Entrance fee: free

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Contact phone: +32 3 265 56 54


Attachment: Folder Debating Development