Saturday, June 11, 2011

Localizing food security with sustainable agriculture

I was invited to make a presentation at the Eng Aga Eze Foundation's June 13 conference The Day of the African Child, with a focus on children in conflict zones. I expect the audience will include staff from the UN and nongovernmental organizations, and perhaps some ambassadors.  Here's a summary of my presentation and the full report, with links to the PDFs below.

Scarcity and disruption are triggering factors for conflict. High food prices caused widespread riots in 2008.  It's widely recognized that climate change, increased weather disasters, and water shortages will drive up food prices far higher, which will increase the odds of strife and conflict. 

Oxfam has reported that over the last few decades, floods and storms have substantially increased.  A new Oxfam report details how hotter weather will reduce food production (leaving aside the direct effects of weather disasters). Oxfam bluntly declares the  international food system to be broken, and expects no help from nations and major organizations. They call for localized, sustainable agricultural practices.  Communities with relocalized food production will be more resilient to scarcity and disruption, and can buffer the factors that lead to conflict. This applies not just to developing countries, but right here in the US as well.

Three positive responses are detailed: a project to teach permaculture informed low input agriculture in Malawi; Geoffrey Lawton's creation of a permaculture oasis in arid Jordan, as recorded in the famous "Greening the Desert" video (spoiler alert - lots of swales); and the use of biochar as a soil amendment and climate change reversal strategy. 

the conference presentation.  

"Localizing food security with sustainable agriculture."  It's a fifteen minute discussion and slide show.

If you like that, download the full report.It has the complete narrative, references, and graphics.

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