The Food We Want — closing message and call to action

Prepared by the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) for the round table discussion on the corporate control of food systems held 22 April 2021, Earth Day. The discussion was organized by PCFS and PAN Asia Pacific as the banner activity of the Global Day of Action against Corporate Control of Food Systems.

Watch the event’s recorded livestream: https://fb.watch/520-0KZPwh/
Learn more about the Global People’s Summit on Food Systems: https://hungry4change.info

Today, hunger and malnutrition are by far the largest yet unrecognized human cost of the pandemic. 

At least half the world today is struggling to access nutritious and healthy food to survive. 

This may be due to quarantines and lockdowns, import bans and trade restrictions, untenable and soaring prices of goods, unemployment and loss of income, government neglect or even fascism and colonization.

For many, it’s a cruel combination of many or all of these. 

But in every single one, the result is the same: hunger amid plenty. Malnutrition amid the record-high global food production. It is clearly an unjust food system. 

THIS IS NOT THE FOOD WE WANT.

Consequently, the poorer half of the world settle for unhealthy diets. 

Diets that are shaped by policies that subsidize fossil-fuel hungry industrial production of genetically modified corn, soybeans, to name a few.

Industrial and capitalist production that is also making our planet unhealthy, on the brink of collapse — periodically releasing new zoonotic threats to humanity. 

This is an unsustainable and unhealthy food system that trades off our health, our planet, and our future for massive profits for large corporations in wealthy nations. 

THIS IS NOT THE FOOD WE AND OUR PLANET WANT.

It is modern-day colonization. A misnomer to say the least, as barbaric tactics of imperialism and wars of aggression are being deployed as we speak. 

Israel is annexing the West Bank and our food basket. There is an ongoing genocide in West Papua and in far-flung corners of Burma. Imperialist countries and their allies are imposing sanctions, condemning poor and stunted countries to further hunger and fragility.

Elsewhere, farmers are being gunned down by the hundreds in the name of landgrabbing earmarked by policy for plantations, mining sites, and industrial hubs. Hamlets and food blockades artificially induce famines in numerous communities in the Philippines, India, Yemen, Brazil and Colombia. 

All this while the rich get richer from plundering the lands of indigenous and rural peoples and sullying the margins of their products. 

A grossly unequal food system where the same large monopoly corporations are posting record-high profits amid the hunger and the pandemic. Atop the bent backs of landless farmers, rural women, agricultural workers, indigenous peoples, fishers, and hungry rural producers.

THIS IS NOT THE FOOD WE, THE PEOPLE, WANT.

And it is these same greedy corporations — the Rockefellers, the Monsantos, the Chevrons and the Fords of today, their lobbying arm — the World Economic Forum, and their self-appointed champion — Bill Gates that are taking up space in global policy floors. Steering the wheels of the talkshops and official processes towards a more unjust, unequal, unhealthy, and unsustainable future of food. 

Decades-old neoliberal policies that created these social, ecological, and human rights crises are being repackaged as “new” solutions. Where technologies and market-based solutions owned and controlled by these huge corporations are treated as silver bullets, funded, and imposed on the Global South. 

Where voices and demands of the hungry are on the menu but not on the table. Where our rights and our planet serve as collaterals in buying into this corporate-led and profit-hungry recovery agenda. 

THIS IS NOT THE FOOD NOR THE FUTURE WE NEED. 

This September, the United Nations will convene a Food Systems Summit to leverage food and agriculture in accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals. To “transform the food systems” towards “healthy and sustainable diets” where work is rewarded and the planet is preserved.

However, the blueprint, direction and process of the UN Summit is shaping to be an extension and perpetuation of the profit-driven agenda of the World Economic Forum, its partner corporations, and neoliberal stalwarts. 

The “new” paradigm and process of transforming the systems puts corporations and profits at the center and our rights, our climate, and our future at the periphery. 

THIS IS NOT THE PEOPLES SUMMIT WE NEED — NOT A PEOPLES’ SUMMIT AT ALL.

Fortunately, farmers and rural peoples, activists, and advocates are linking arms and paving the way towards just, equitable, healthy and sustainable food systems. 

Sowing seeds of recovery in agroecological production, cultivating waves upon waves of protest and resistance for land, seeds, and life, farmers, rural women, indigenous peoples, fishers, and rural producers are demanding food sovereignty. 

There is a need for transformation. A need to transform the current neoliberal, colonial, and profit-driven food systems into one that serves the needs of the people, peoples, and planet. 

Indeed, there is a need for a People’s Summit. Today, we invite everyone to join the rural peoples of the Global South, the hungry and marginalized of the world in convening a Global Peoples Summit on Food Systems. 

Let us link arms and reclaim our voices to demand food systems which put our fundamental rights above profit, our planet over corporations, and our sovereignty over monopolies. 

For a brighter future we are building, for the working peoples of the world. 

It’s time for a true Global People’s Summit for a Just, Equitable and Sustainable Food Systems.

From our small farmlands to the capitals of Rome and New York we will make a stand: THIS IS THE FOOD WE WANT! ###

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