Food is not a commodity. It is not ‘stuff’ put together mechanically and artificially in labs and factories. Food is life.
Food holds the contributions of all beings that make the food web, and it holds the potential for maintaining and regenerating the web of life.
Food also holds the potential for health and disease, depending on how it was grown and processed. Food is therefore the living currency of the web of life.
As an ancient Upanishad reminds us: “Everything is food, everything is something else’s food.” Good food is the basis for good health. But bad food, industrial food, fake food is the basis for disease.”
Hippocrates said: “Let food be thy medicine”. In Ayurveda, India’s ancient science of life, food is called ‘sarvausadha’ the medicine that cures all disease.
Industrial food systems have reduced food to a commodity, to ‘stuff’ that can then be constituted in the lab. In the process both the planet’s health and our health has been nearly destroyed.
As much as 75 percent of the planetary destruction of soil, water, biodiversity, and 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from industrial agriculture, which also contributes to 75 percent of food related chronic diseases.
Chemical agriculture does not return organic matter and fertility to the soil. Instead it is contributing to desertification and land degradation. It also demands more water since it destroys the soil’s natural water-holding capacity.
Industrial food systems have destroyed the biodiversity of the planet both through the spread of monocultures, and through the use of toxics and poisons that are killing bees, butterflies, insects, birds, and leading to the sixth mass extinction.
Biodiversity-intensive and poison-free agriculture, on the other hand, produces more nutrition per acre while rejuvenating the planet. It shows the path to Zero Hunger in times of climate change.
The industrial agriculture and toxic food model has been promoted as the only answer to economic and food security. However, globally, more than a billion people are hungry. More than three billion suffer from food-related chronic diseases.
Industrial agriculture is based on fossil-fuel intensive, chemical-intensive monocultures, and produces only 30 percent of the food we eat despite using 75 percent of farmed land.