May 7, 2012

The Essence of Food Sovereignty


The essence of Food Sovereignty is that agroecology and democracy are mutually reinforcing.
Positive democracy dispenses with all forms of coercive hierarchy in favor of the cooperative economies and societies which are natural to human beings. This is the culture which would expunge all tyranny and minimize violence. It’s the most favorable environment for all forms of autonomous and cooperative production, including the agroecology which already has the highest yield of all forms of agriculture, and whose yield advantage shall increase exponentially post-fossil fuels. Conversely, conditions of material scarcity and unemployment are conducive to anti-democratic ideas and forms.
The Big Lie that industrial agriculture outproduces organic is based on simple accounting fraud. Corporate propagandists isolate one crop, for example corn, and then compare industrial vs. organic monocultures* of that crop. But monoculture is antithetical to the organic framework. On the contrary, the right comparison is between the industrial monoculture and the integrated, diversified, holistic organic farm. When this correct account is tallied, we find that organic outproduces industrial in terms of calories and macronutrients, and vastly outproduces it in terms of vitamins and minerals. (GMOs, by the way, are especially nutritional dead weight, on account of how their glyphosate-resistant and Bt-expressing cellular traits physically block nutrient uptake from the soil.)
But this mode of organic production – diversified, geared to local conditions, intensively using skilled labor, producing abundance, providing fulfilling work for all – cannot be concentrated into an assembly line. So it’s naturally resistant to hierarchy. It naturally resists power and wealth concentration.
Therefore agroecology is in the spirit of the original principle of the American Revolution, that concentrated power naturally assaults liberty, and that the responsibility of a citizen is to be vigilant toward power, or better yet not allow it to concentrate in the first place. Organic food production, by its very nature, presents a great hurdle to concentration, and therefore lessens the burden of vigilance. It also does this by providing local/regional food security. By training for self-reliance, it also affirmatively trains us to be the active citizens we need to be.
In all these ways, therefore, agroecology helps foster and strengthen democracy, just as democracy provides the most constructive environment for it. Food sovereignty is an essentially democratic philosophy and practice. It’s the most purely human philosophy, and it’s the practice most tending toward our human fulfillment.
[*Even granting this fraudulent monoculture comparison, organic’s production is competitive with industrial, and often outproduces it.]



  1. Nutrient density is key! Permaculture holds many answers; by regenerating ecosystem health and at the same time allowing us to fulfill our human needs we can re-close the circle. – http://permitools.wikispaces.com

    Comment by Simha — May 7, 2012 @ 5:56 am

    • Thanks for the link, Simha. That’s an excellent resource. I just got access to a much larger plot than my existing 10X20 garden, and I’d like to start using more permaculture techniques.

      Comment by Russ — May 8, 2012 @ 2:35 am

  2. Some associations..
    I do not think that you will break out of the chains of industrial slavery in prose of industrial style.
    Last night I watched splendors and miseries of the Republic, French style.
    A fantastic pageant, I will say… (not show, that’s.. vulgar..).
    Nicolas managed to be truly noble at the moment he… lost.
    Removing the immaterial symbolic trappings of the highest charge of the Republic, he was at last FREE to say what he wanted to say, and it was moving.
    He was definitely fitted to his function.
    François, on the other hand, made me very uncomfortable..
    The winner, he said.. all the right words.
    Every one of those words that HE WAS SUPPOSED TO SAY was there… like “progress, youth, socialism, reindustrialisation”, among others.
    It was almost like he had a checklist, that’s how.. unspontaneous he was.
    But then, HE wasn’t free at all last night, was he ??
    An unsuspecting reporter said a few of the most fateful words of the evening, words which probably passed over the heads of most everybody…
    “No lyrical outburst from François Hollande”…
    That’s why I say that if you want to break out of the chains of INDUSTRIAL slavery, you need to reintegrate poetry, and equivocation in your style and thinking. You need to abandon the dry, dusty, “scientific” speech which has arisen out of the industrial revolution.
    Nietzsche understood this quite well, I think.
    How can you combat a system, a way of organizing the world by resorting to.. ITS vocabulary, and style ?
    No way.

    Comment by Debra — May 7, 2012 @ 9:44 am

    • I was barely aware that there was a French election until afterward. Someone did show me some good-sounding quotes from the ostensibly real democracy candidate, Melancthon. But I see no reason to believe he would’ve been any good either.

      Comment by Russ — May 8, 2012 @ 2:30 am

      • Mélenchon preaches reindustrializing France…
        i am hostile to reindustializing. No one represented me in this election…
        But then, I am not sure that I still want to be… represented, anyway… maybe not..
        Look at what is happening in Greece, though.
        Political chaos… the French did not understand during this election that political REPRESENTATION is under siege, in addition to the idea of the nation state…
        But when you have the press on the verge of following the candidates into the toilets to smoke out what they.. REALLY ?? think, well…
        representation is under siege.
        We shall see.

        Comment by Debra — May 8, 2012 @ 4:05 am

  3. […] commodified and globalized ones. It assumes diversified smallholder agroecology, which is inherently resistant to tyranny, instead of monocropping, which was designed to be dominated by hierarchies, and is inherently […]

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  4. […] is that this margin will extend astronomically as cheap fossil fuels become unavailable.   But this kind of agroecology can’t be adapted to corporatism. It doesn’t scale up, it can’t be Taylorized, it doesn’t fit well into political […]

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