May 13th, 2019
Food security in the age of climate crisis is set to feature in events around the country this week.
Food for Thought, an event organized by Feasta, will be held in Castlebar, Co. Mayo on 17 May, and intends to explore how to secure food supply in ecological uncertainty.
The key speaker of the event is Hanny van Geel of Via Campesina, an international network of small and middle-scale producers with over 200 million small farmer members globally.
“In the midst of global collapse, we need to ensure the provision of elementary life materials such as food and clean water. It is as serious as that,” Mark Garavan of Feasta said.
“We need to establish independence from the small number of global corporations who control global food supply and equip local communities and small farmers and growers to produce high quality and locally available food,” he added.
In addition, a Famine Walk is set to take place in Co. Mayo on 18 May, organized by Afri, a Dublin-based non-governmental organization.
The walk is now entering its fourth decade and commemorates the famine road in the Doolough Valley in County Mayo.
For this year’s event, ‘Fields of Athenry’ composer Pete St John will join those walking and his climate-change focused composition ‘Waltzing on Borrowed Time’ will feature throughout.
The Feasta event is part of the National Biodiversity Week organized by the Irish Environmental Network which is set to launch on 18 May.
Over fifty free events are set to take place across the country over the course of nine days, including tree-planting and learning how to grow your own food.
The series of events also come in the wake of the newly released UN-backed report that found one million plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction.
This year, Biodiversity Week will focus on nature as the foundation for our food and health, stressing that without urgent action to protect our nature, there could be a devastating impact on food production which would put humans at risk of extinction.
Small-scale food production was recently discussed as a key component of rebooting Ireland’s food system and addressing runaway emissions by 2030 at the Make Sustainable For All conference in Croke Park.
“Through supporting small-scale farmers and food producers, we can go beyond producing more with less, to balance the focus to food quality and diversity, to link productivity to sustainability and address the needs of people, without jeopardizing our planet,” World Vision Ireland Chief Executive Niall McLoughlin said opening the conference.
Green Party spokesperson for Agriculture and Food and organic beef and sheep farmer Pippa Hackett also noted at the conference the benefits of small-scale farming, noting the reduced reliance of expensive inputs and international markets, as well as the positive repercussions for the local environment.
Also weighing in on small-scale production was Talamh Beo spokesperson Fergal Anderson who stressed that in order to achieve food sovereignty, a framework of democratization, participation, working with nature, and the reversal of rural decline is paramount.
Talamh Beo is a grassroots farmers movement formed in Galway earlier this year and aims to explore how ecosystems and people can live alongside each other.