Global Justice Now Tells a Tale of Two Food Systems

This excellent infographic sums up two potential food systems of our future.

By Johanna Lundahl, AGRA Watch Intern

The UK based activist organization  Global Justice Now(GJN) released a powerful new infographic this summer which illustrates an all too familiar story– a farmer-controlled farm relies on traditional seed systems and farm-produced fertilizers, while a corporate-controlled farm must purchase seeds, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides. Although both farms in the graphic are initially identical, they grow and change in radically different ways. The farmer-controlled farm adds animals and vegetables, the skies are blue, soil is healthy, and the farm is teeming with biodiversity. Meanwhile, the corporate-controlled farm grows bleak and grey. The seeds and pesticides that farmers in this system are forced to use grow crops in higher quantities in the short term. In the long term they leech nutrients from the soil, ultimately degrading soil quality. A farmer in the corporate-controlled farm is chained to a system of debt and dependence on the corporation.

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Shiva Explains How Industrialized Ag Leads to Loss of Nutrients in Crops

ImageIn her article, Vandana Shiva argues that hunger and malnutrition are being perpetuated by the industrialization of agriculture, the same system that is claiming to have the solution to these problems. She notes that the industrialized food system is too focused on increasing yields, and is not addressing the loss of nutritional value in crops grown as monocultures. Because nutrients in crops are derived from nutrients in the soil, crops grown in an industrialized setting where chemical pesticides have degraded the soil end up nutritionally empty. While the addition of synthetic fertilizers help to keep the soil from complete degredation, they do not account for all of the micronutrients found in organic soil. As a result, a person would be required to eat much more of a given crop in order to receive the same nutrients found in its organic counterpart. Because of this, Shiva argues that biodiverse, organic farming is the most effective and low-cost strategy for addressing world hunger.

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