Decolonising our Food Systems: Whose Land, Whose Seas?
July 7 @ 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Agri-business, food monoculture and pressure to increase productivity have resulted in a globalised industrial food system that undermines sustainability while failing to provide the world with access to safe and nutritious food. Current agri-food systems are described by the FAO as a ‘top contributor’ to both climate change and biodiversity loss. Environmental catastrophes resulting from climate change forcibly displaces communities and create conflict.
In the seas, the picture is equally bleak. In Sierra Leone, where fish provides 80% of the population’s protein consumption, illegal fishing and overfishing, mainly by Chinese trawlers, robs the seas of the fish that generations of West Africans have depended on to feed their families and earn a living. In Senegal & Mauritania, whole fishing communities are destroyed, because western countries have been allowed to fish for the Yaboi, a small but highly nutritious fish. These fish are pulped into food for farmed salmon in Europe.
Decolonising food systems involves changing the way we think about food and how we obtain our food. This means challenging who makes decisions about who gets access to safe, nutritious food to eat. It is, therefore, a question of environmental sustainability, access to power, and justice.
About the Speakers:
Hazel Healy is a writer, editor and broadcaster. She made the two-part radio documentary ‘Tale of a Tiny Fish’ about the impact of the fishmeal industry in West Africa (Listen to part 1 here and part 2 here), which aired on the BBC World Service in January 2022. Currently the UK Editor of investigative newsite DeSmog, she previously worked as co-editor at New Internationalist magazine; other bylines include the LA Times, and The Guardian. She is the UK Editor of climate investigators desmog.com. She was previously a Co-editor of the award-winning New Internationalist magazine. A writer, editor and broadcaster, she specialises in stories that unpack the thorny subjects of justice, equality and political change. Hazel co-founded the local paper Manchester Mule before freelancing from Madrid for the BBC World Service, the LA Times, The Guardian and De Correspondent. In 2017, she won a Drum Online Media award for her stories of life after Ebola in Sierra Leone produced with On Our Radar.
Namukolo Covic (PhD) is Director General’s Representative to Ethiopia for the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) based in Addis Ababa and is the current president of the African Nutrition Society. She is a food systems expert with a multidisciplinary academic background in agriculture and human nutrition. She served on the leadership teams of two of the five Action Tracks of the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) 2021 and is one of the founding members of the Coalition of Action on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems for Children and All that emerged out of the UNFSS. She is a member of the International Union of Nutrition Societies (IUNS) Task Force on Traditional and Indigenous Food Systems and Nutrition. Namukolo’s work has focused on linking research evidence to policy and program processes of African countries and the African Union, such as the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). She is an avid advocate of transforming African food systems toward supporting better diets and nutrition, sustainably, while leveraging the positive aspects of existing production and consumption practices. She posits that there is no reason why Africa cannot take a different path on food systems transformation to the trajectories that have been taken by the global north.
About the Chair:
Elizabeth Hull is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and Deputy Chair of the SOAS Food Studies Centre. Her work focuses on food-based livelihoods, agriculture and distributional economies in South Africa. She has worked on various multi-disciplinary projects on food systems, gender and health, and previously sat on the management committee of the London Centre for Integrative Research in Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH).
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