graphic:link to sustainable food home
Cheap Food..

Economist spells out 'The end of cheap food".

Do we need a new science of sustainability? replacing the industrialist/productionist model. If so, what would it look like?
Two models.

1. BASF/Monsanto want more biotechnology - engineered to deal with water stress, and other environmental constraints while also providing better nutrition. This reflects a paradigm of thinking that integrates the ‘life sciences’.

2. The main other paradigm is based on
- ‘ecology’and public health rather individual private solutions. - Preventing ill health natural degradation rather then solving it.

Global food policies would work with nature rather than against it.

What "CHEAP" food means...

"Cheap" food sounds good - everybody seems to agree that we need to have more cheap food. But it isnt. Using two articles Financial Times on one day (22 March 07), we can see that "more" food usually means more "cheap" food - often ignoring the costs of cheap food that fall elsewhere - usually on health and the environment..

"BASF & Monsanto in output drive" explains how world's biggest supplier of genetically supplied seeds is linking up with German chemicals giant BASF. (This quotes in italics)

Dominant Ideology

We are always being told we need to produce more food - to feed the starving millions and the increasing world population.
Very strong idea and used to introduce many new food products/processes.
Latest version of this is from Monsanto: "The real dilemma in the next decade is how do you grow more with less".


Markets determine - as night follows day, that the more food that is produced then the more prices will go DOWN.

Poor weather equals high prices e.g. "frost in Brazil and coffee prices go up"

Good harvest and prices plummet.

So 'good' weather is 'bad'!


So where is profit going to come from - whatever the weather?
This collaborative venture is "designed to boost farm productivity 20 per cent".

So not really about 'product', but 'productivity' which = cheaper labour & costs transferred elsewhere, eg environment.

BASF - "There is this conflict of nutrition on one side, and renewable resources protecting the climate of the earth and the only solution is biotechnology. Is this the "only" solution? We think it sounds more like a "technological fix". These companies recognise the problem - how to have healthy people and planet, but then suggest more of the same - just more efficient still. There are still nearly a billion people undernourished, when we have been producing 'more' and 'more' food for last thirty years. We believe we should be producing 'better' food - better for people and better for environment.

Do we really need "more" rice? when this really means US farmers producing cheap food to export rice to Middle and Far East - and so do poor rice farmers out of work, food and homes. These local farmers want exemptions from "free" trade being forced on them. "Exemptions would permit poor nations to continue to protect subsistence and vulnerable small-scale farmers, but the US said proposed criteria for selecting them were vague and sweeping." FT "Hope for Trade Talks"

Graphic: link to sustainable food 2
Copyright 2007 Environmental Practice at Work Publishing Co Ltd