Can Organic Farming ‘Scale Up’ to Meet the UN’s SDG Goals of Eradicating Poverty and Hunger?

Thursday, April 18, 2024  10am-11:30am ET on Zoom

About this event:

This discussion will address the essential needs and ways to scale up organic farming and agroecology to end hunger and poverty (United Nations’s Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2).

Panelists in conversation will debunk chemically dependent, soil-depleting false solutions, expose obstacles, and showcase strategies and collaborations to increase organic and sustainable, soil-enriching farming, including farmer leadership.

The issues of global trade in industrial agriculture, including increasing costs and supply chain problems, as well as unregulated financialization, round out the picture.

Speakers will include:

Anastasia Nesvetailova, Head of UNCTAD’s Macroeconomic and Development Policies Branch

Ms. Nesvetailova’s main research focuses on the political economy of finance. She has published widely on issues of financial instability and regulation, including three monographs (Fragile Finance: Debt, Speculation, and Crisis in the Age of Global Credit, 2007; Financial Alchemy in Crisis: The End of Liquidity Illusion, 2010; and Sabotage: The Business of Finance, 2020, with Ronen Palan) and numerous academic and policy articles on finance, crises, and financial governance.

Learn from Ms. Nesvetailova online: Short interview with Ms. Nesvetailova

“The world has enough money to fight climate change and support development. It’s just not channeled in the right direction,” Ms. Nesvetailova says. “It’s more a question of political and social will than of finance.”

This episode of The Weekly Tradecast looks at the influence big trading companies have on food supplies and prices with Anastasia Nesvetailova, head of UNCTAD’s macroeconomic and development policies branch.

“A development-centered approach to debt is needed,” Ms. Nesvetailova says, highlighting overlooked factors contributing to unsustainable sovereign debt, such as climate change.

Linley Dixon, Ph.D., Co-Director, Real Organic Project

Linley DixonLinley Dixon farms organic vegetables in Southwest Colorado. She holds a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Florida and a Masters in Soil Science from West Virginia University in organic farming systems. She held a 2-year post-doctorate with the USDA’s Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory in plant-fungal interactions.

In 2018, she began the pilot program for the Real Organic Project certification program and is now the Co-Director with Vermont organic farmer Dave Chapman. Real Organic Project is a farmer-led “add-on” organic certification that certifies farms just as the organic movement intended. We foster healthy soils and pasture livestock and ensure protections for workers, and we are committed to “whole farm” organic principles across all our agricultural enterprises.

Real Organic Project provides the transparency that is often lacking in the marketplace and educates eaters about the farming practices that provide for a healthy future. We have partnered with the international Organic certification agency Naturland to unite the organic movement worldwide under one label and movement.

Hear Linley Dixon online: Farmers know what is good for the soil.  Slow-release fertility is best for the next crop.  Chemical no-till is NOT climate smart.
(Starts at 10:15 into the video)

Paul Holmbeck – World Board Member, IFOAM – Organics International

Paul HolmbeckPaul Holmbeck led Organic Denmark as director until 2020, playing a leading role over 25 years in developing Denmark’s ambitious organic goals and policies and a strong organic organization of farmers, consumers, and food companies as a driving force for change.

Denmark’s policies for organic innovation, market development, farm transition, and 60 percent organic in all public kitchens have inspired much of the EU Organic Action Plan, which aims to achieve 25 percent organic in the EU. Paul’s team also made Denmark the world leader in organic sales, with organic market shares of 30-60% for foods like milk, eggs, flour, and many vegetables and fruits.

Today, Paul advises leaders in government, business, and organizations on national strategies for organics and agroecology. He is currently co-developing plans in The Netherlands, Tanzania, Canada, and Uganda. Paul was most recently chosen by the European Commission to present the best organic policy practices for officials from all 27 EU member nations, the UK, and the USA.

The conversion to organic food in Danish public kitchens started in childcare centers and schools. Now it covers all types of public institutions, from hospitals, senior homes and city halls to ministry canteens, military barracks, and prisons. Research indicates that successful transition to organic, healthier and climate friendly meals can be achieved without higher operating costs through a combination of policy, capacity building in organic NGOs, value chain collaboration and active engagement of kitchen staff.
Our food systems are built on unhealthy and unsustainable practices and face profound challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and food insecurity. To save our food systems we need profound transformation, and agroecology is a key holistic approach to achieve this. It offers a proven alternative for agri-food systems which are trapped in approaches that destroy biodiversity and soil health while globally failing to deliver on long-term production targets. While there is increasing global recognition of the economic, social and ecological benefits that agroecology delivers, government support and targeted public investments are needed for it to be scaled across the entire food system. …Currently, there is unprecedented momentum in Eastern and Southern Africa to develop national strategies for an agroecological transformation, hereafter called National Agroecology Strategies or NASs.

Paul Hombeck: How Denmark Went Organic

Miguel A . Altieri, Ph.D., Professor of Agroecology at UC Berkeley

Miguel AltieriDr. Altieri has taught in UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management since 1981. He has advised on many agroecology /sustainable agricultural development projects, including

  • Scientific Advisor to the Latin American Consortium on Agroecology and Development (CLADES)
  • General Coordinator for the United Nations Development Programme’s Sustainable Agriculture Networking and Extension Programme
  • Chairman of the NGO committee of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research

All of these focused on capacity building, scaling up local initiatives, and respecting farmers, and many include a focus on Latin America. Currently he is advisor to the FAO-GIAHS program ( Globally Ingenious Agricultural Heritage a program devoted at identifying and  dynamically conserving traditional farming systems in the developing world. He is the author of more than 230 publications including Agroecology: The Science of Sustainable Agriculture and Agroecology and the Search for a Truly Sustainable Agriculture.

A Conversation with Miguel Altieri- Agroecology and Sustainability (University of Pavia)

Miguel Altieri – Agroecology as Science and Social Movement

About your host:

Grove HarrisGrove Harris is an eco-justice advocate bringing diverse grassroots perspectives to an international arena. As Director of Global Advocacy and Representative to the UN for the Temple of Understanding, she works on climate change, food sovereignty, economic justice, gender equality, and more.

Grove was Program Director for the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions and Managing Director for the Pluralism Project at Harvard University. Her Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School (1996) incorporated studies of organizational development and business management into the study of religion and ethics.

Grove is a writer and artist, engaged in her home communities in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

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