Category Archives: Policy

Why Food Should be a Commons not a Commodity

Food is treated as a private good in today’s industrial food system, but it must be re-conceived as a common good in the transition toward a more sustainable food system that is fairer to food producers and consumers. If we were to treat food as a commons, it could be better produced and distributed by hybrid tri-centric governance systems implemented at the local level and compounded by market rules, public regulations, and collective actions. This change would have enormous ethical, legal, economic, and nutritional implications for the global food system.

[T]he value of food is no longer based on the many dimensions that bring us security and health, including the fact that food is a:

  • Basic human need and should be available to all

  • Fundamental human right that should be guaranteed to every citizen

  • Pillar of our culture for producers and consumers alike

  • Natural, renewable resource that can be controlled by humans

  • Marketable product subject to fair trade and sustainable production

  • Global common good that should be enjoyed by all

via Why Food Should be a Commons not a Commodity – Shareable.

What 11-Year-Olds Get—and Adults Forget—About Child Labor in Chocolate

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Marie was only 11 years old when she spoke at the “Raise the bar, Hershey!” rally in 2010. She’d seen videos of children in Ivory Coast and Ghana lugging around heavy sacks of cocoa beans and wielding machetes to open cocoa pods. She heard that these malnourished children in forced labor are often whipped or beaten. And she knew that wasn’t right.So Marie started a Fair Trade group at her middle school in San Francisco. She began telling everyone she could about the chocolate farmers who don’t earn a living wage, and the children kidnapped to work on plantations.

via What 11-Year-Olds Get—and Adults Forget—About Child Labor in Chocolate by Katrina Rabeler — YES! Magazine.

What’s Fairer than Fair Trade?

This is a great article which breaks down some of the problems with Fair Trade and poses some possible solutions. Also discovered in the article that a Mennonite started the fair trade movement.

There is today a far wider, more exciting range of chocolate bars available than we knew even a decade ago, and consumers can exercise a certain amount of ethical practice in buying them. Putting faith in a blue-and-green Fairtrade label alone is, perhaps, too simple. Through their different models, Fairtrade-certified companies, direct-trade companies, and artisanal producers are pushing each other to rethink standards for the entire chocolate industry.

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via What’s Fairer than Fair Trade? Try Direct Trade With Cocoa Farmers by Kristy Leissle — YES! Magazine.

Global food waste explained with five tomatoes

Each year, the world produces about 1,471 pounds 670 kilograms of edible food for every person on the planet. We only eat about half of that. What happens to the rest? This video breaks it down — and gives you a few suggestions for what you can do to fix the problem.

via Global food waste explained with five tomatoes | Grist.

Can we finally have a serious talk about population?

I have often talked about population on this blog. It is a controversial and difficult subject to tackle, because of the emotions and reactions it immediately stirs.

This article quotes the man who is said to have destroyed the idea that population was a problem, the Father of the Green Revolution. In his Nobel prize acceptance speech he said,

We have bought the world some time, but unless population control and increased food production go hand in hand, we are going to lose this.

Even those who don’t agree about population might agree with the solution.

So what’s Weisman’s solution? Importantly, he is no supporter of coercive population control measures such as China’s infamous one-child policy. Rather, Weisman makes a powerful case that the best way to manage the global population is by empowering women, through both education and access to contraception — so that they can make more informed choices about family size and the kind of lives they want for themselves and their children.

via Can we finally have a serious talk about population? | Grist.