Is humanity facing an existential threat from adopting a food and nutrition system that fights against nature instead of working with nature?
The month of March 2020 is here; the coronavirus, a “flu virus”, is threatening to disrupt, not only the health and well being of humanity, but also that of the entire ecosystem. Assuming this is a naturally mutated virus, is Mother Nature passing a “message” that perhaps we, humans, have done enough harm to the ecosystem and that nature is responding to “re-balance”?
This month’s article seeks to outline some pertinent issues and makes some recommendations, as part of the solution, with a focus on food systems. The current food system is the problem - conventional agriculture, while the solution is agroecological regenerative agriculture.
- There is increasing evidence that the current food system has failed to achieve food and nutrition security and therefore the need for a radical transformation:…”to wake up before it is too late” https://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/ditcted2012d3_en.pdf
- The UN systems, through WHO and FAO have noted that despite the increase in food production and productivity, global malnutrition, both under nutrition and over nutrition, also called obesity, have continued to rise. Here as reported in the 2019 State of Food Security and Nutrition. http://www.fao.org/3/ca5162en/ca5162en.pdf
- As part of an effort to mitigate this dismal statistics, the FAO developed policies and strategies to promote Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture (NSA). NSA is an approach to address malnutrition by providing safe and diversified foods that are accessible to all, including rural and marginalized communities.
- To ensure standardized measurement and monitoring of FAO-WHO have recently developed key recommendations and indicators to incorporate nutrition sensitive aspects to food productions systems; Find summary here: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4922e.pdf
- Nutrition sensitive agriculture is a food-based approach to agricultural development that puts dietary diversity and nutritionally rich foods, produced respecting the principles of agroecology and organic farming, at the heart of overcoming malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.
- Increasingly, more and more scientists, from multi-disciplinary backgrounds are demonstrating that reclaiming soil health is the solution to ecosystem health, including diminishing biodiversity and climate disruptions. Here below the evidence.
- Emerging systems thinkers and scientists, exemplified by Dr. Elaine Ingham, are highlighting the need to “fix the soil micro-organisms” and increase their diversity and viability in order to fix both the soil and human gut ecosystem and related microorganisms imbalances resulting in a myriad of metabolic disorders and chronic diseases, including cancers.
- Dr. Christine Jones, a leading soil ecologist, provides even more powerful evidence on how working with nature as opposed to working against nature, using a terminology called “quorum sensing” that soil micro-organisms can regenerate and create “new soil with nutrient rich organic matter” from soils that were previously almost “dead dirt”. Watch the video here:
- Few physicians turned ecosystem activist have captured this existential threat to humanity better than Dr. Zack Bush. Zack, explains how the widespread use of glyphosate and its various Roundup formulations, among other toxic organophosphates, used alongside synthetic fertilizers has created a problem of monumental proportions that poses an existential threat to humanity and the entire ecosystem. He brilliantly also explains the “solution”: Watch the video here:
- Is there more local evidence that, increasing environmental contamination, from reckless profit motivated human activities, are causing an existential threat? Yes. The locust invasion in East Africa, a natural cyclic manifestation of locust behavior, has caught conventional entomologists, ecologists and other scientists “napping” and using toxic organophosphates to try and “kill” the locusts without consideration of other insects and human health. Reckless spraying, with Sumithion, an organophosphorous pyrethroid is a concern in some parts of Kenya. Here is evidence of the toxicity of Sumithion: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317225308_Toxicity_effects_of_sumithion_on_the_breeding_performance_and_viability_of_eggs_embryos_and_subsequent_growth_indices_of_Heteropneustes_fossilis_larvae and http://jifro.ir/article-1-3849-en.html
What are some of the agroecologically aligned solutions to address the existential threat to humanity?
- There is an urgent need for a transformational shift from the current external synthetic chemical based food and nutrition systems to nature aligned agroecological and organic food and nutrition systems. Here is evidence that they work and can sustainably not only improve community nutritional levels but can also improve incomes and livelihoods: https://www.organicwithoutboundaries.bio/2019/05/15/nutrition-mountain-agroecosystems/
- There is need to find safe and ecosystem friendly strategies to address the locust invasion, for example, instead of using toxic soil microorganism destroying chemicals, like Sumithion, a toxic biocide. A good example of an accessible, safe biological intervention is the use of the fungi, metahizium acridum which specifically attacks locusts and grasshoppers, while sparing other beneficial insects: Here for more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5715920/can be used to biologically to kill the locusts without killing non-target insects.
- Another solution is to innovate and use simple and affordable technologies that are accessible to millions of poor populations, including small scale family farming communities. Three examples are presented in addressing clean water and biofertilizers, addressing the corona virus and addressing malnutrition.
- Use of innovative eco-friendly technologies that provide access to clean water to large rural populations, solar electricity and re-newable and regenerative agriculture using biofertilizers and soil micro-organisms. Here is an example of how it works by billionaire Manoj: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChsHrEgI8qb0dBa4UF791SQ
- Sayer Ji has documented evidence confirming that the “germ theory” is not aligned to nature… killing “bugs” by using a “killing approach” rather than a balanced co-existence. He presents scientific evidence of plant based solutions to viruses similar to coronavirus: https://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/studies-find-natural-treatments-coronavirus and here: https://www.greenmedinfo.com/disease/coronavirus-infectional
- And finally, what are we doing at Organic Consumers Alliance(OCA), in partnership with Sylvia’s Baskets and ISD/IFOAM?
- As part of the global Mountainous Agroecosystem Action Network(MAAN) https://maan.ifoam.bio/ that promotes sustainable agroecological organic nutrition sensitive agriculture and food systems., we are doing as two cents , as change agents and advocates ofchange at both policy and community level; https://www.organicwithoutboundaries.bio/2020/02/06/organic-delivers-health-in-a-holistic-sense/
- As key partners of the Kenya Chapter of the East Africa Highlands, a First Face to Face ToT Training on Organic Nutritive Sensitive Agriculture (NSA) is scheduled for the 3rd of March to the 5th of March, 2020. OCA and partner,s are playing their role as agents of change towards achieving a healthier and more sustainable ecosystem for all and contributing to mitigating the existential threat to humanity.
- The training concludes with an organic farm visit to the farm of one of the trainer’s farm, Sylvia’s Organic Farm. Here being interviewed by IFOAM Biofach reporter. https://www.organicwithoutboundaries.bio/2020/02/06/organic-delivers-health-in-a-holistic-sense/