Week 12 Blog Post- Eating Tomorrow

Throughout the reading, I thought it was interesting that the answer to many of the problems in Malawi were to revert to localized solutions. Malawi was facing a huge food crisis, and it was temporarily fixed by subsidizing seeds and fertilizers to support small-scale farmers. Eventually, the problems related to this model became apparent and needed to be resolved. Farmers often had little to no cash, so convincing farmers to splurge on seeds at the beginning of the season was a hard sell. Fertilizers are also very expensive, and the combined cost of seeds and synthetic fertilizer results in a net loss for farmers, who cannot afford to lose their income and their food source. The solution to this was reverting back to local seeds, such as orange maize, which is higher in vitamin A, resistant to pests and diseases when stored, and it has a broader range of uses for food production. Local seeds also brought farmers back to the traditions of intercropping and seed-saving, which are more natural and time-tested ways to survive as a farmer. I related to the section about monoculture, because corn grown in a monoculture model really does deplete soil. When my family started planting on our farm, it had been under corn for 30 years. It was very dry, compact soil, and we are still working on loosening it up and adding nutrients back with regenerative agriculture practices. That is what people like Daudi are trying to prevent- dependence on monoculture leading to the depletion of the soil that spurs increased dependence on fertilizers every year. The issue with seed companies in Malawi was very similar to the issue with genetically modified corn in Mexico. GM corn is being pushed by companies like Monsanto in Mexico, and the transgenic corn is cross-pollinating with traditional maize crops. This has angered many in Mexico, and there has been a large movement to try and stop the production of GM maize crops in Mexico. The GM crops have essentially no benefits in Mexico- farmers already see high yield rates and the prices for GM seeds are higher. Even Monsanto’s data shows that traditional maize crops are more beneficial for farmers, yet the company promotes their seeds as a step towards food sovereignty. Monsanto is the antithesis of food sovereignty, because the company has been trying to use its power to limit the prevention of the contamination of native maize varieties and essentially eliminate Mexicans’ choice in what they grow. I thought that Monsanto’s false advertising was very representative of commercial agriculture, because they claim to work in the best interests of the people, but in reality they are solely working to line corporate pockets. Similar to Malawi, the solution in Mexico is to uplift the peasant farmers. ANEC’s “Peasant Agriculture with Integrated Knowledge Systems” is designed to uplift peasant farmers by combining scientific and agricultural knowledge and using the collective information to eliminate the reliance on transnational firms like Monsanto.

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