Il terreno è piccolo, non supera l’ettaro e mezzo. Gli alti fusti, ognuno con il suo casco di frutti avvolto in una sacca di plastica, proteggono dal sole battente. Gustavo Gandini affonda le mani nel terreno e mostra il brulicare della vita nei suoi dettagli più piccoli e meno attraenti: “Guardate questo lombrico, questo lungo verme peloso!”.Una gallina razzola a poca distanza, colibrì becchettano tra le foglie. “In un campo coltivato convenzionalmente, vedreste solo morte e desolazione. Con il biologico, invece, la natura vive e si riproduce in un ciclo integrato”. Siamo in una piantagione di banani vicino a Mao, nel nord della Repubblica Dominicana. Sono venuto qui insieme a una piccola delegazione di giornalisti europei per vedere l’origine della filiera della banana. Gandini, agronomo colombiano di remote origini italiane, è il direttore tecnico di Banelino, un consorzio di 140 piccoli produttori che in quest’area controllano 1.500 ettari. Tutti rigorosamente biologici e parte del commercio equo e solidale.La Repubblica Dominicana si è specializzata negli ultimi anni in questo settore: il 70 per cento delle banane prodotte qui è biologico, circa il 40 per cento è inserito nei circuiti del fair trade. Un terzo delle banane del circuito fair trade consumate in Italia arriva da qui. Una nicchia di mercato che ha permesso al piccolo stato caraibico di ritagliarsi un ruolo accanto ai grandi esportatori mondiali: l’Ecuador, la Colombia, la Costa Rica e le varie altre “repubbliche delle banane” dell’America Centrale.
Tag Archives: Food
India has a rich and deep scientific and civilisational heritage of biodiversity, agroecology and ayurveda, which has sustained us for centuries. We have understood that the web of life is a food web.All that is born is born of anna (food) indeed. Whatever exists on Earth is born of anna, and in the end merges into anna. Anna indeed is the first born amongst all beings; that is why anna is called sarvausadha, the medicine that relieves the bodily discomforts of all.In the last few decades, our agriculture, food and health systems are being devastated by the assault of reductionist science, and industrial food systems based on toxic chemicals, combined with globalisation and free trade.Industrialisation and globalisation of food systems is driven by chemical and pharmaceutical corporations, leading to an agrarian crisis, erosion of biodiversity in agriculture, increase in toxics in our food, the promotion of fast food and junk food and a disease epidemic. The agrochemical industry and agribusiness, the junk food industry and the pharmaceutical industry profit while the nation gets sicker and poorer.
Source: Keep food diverse. It’s healthy
Wij zijn het meel in uw brood, de tarwe in uw noedels, het zout op uw friet. We zijn de maïs in uw tortilla’s, de chocola in uw dessert, de zoetstof in uw frisdrank. We zijn de olie in de saladedressing en het vlees in uw maaltijd. We zijn het katoen in uw kleren, de rug van uw tapijt en de kunstmest op uw veld.’
Het bedrijf achter deze brochuretekst maakt deel uit van een clubje vrijwel onbekende multinationals die de wereldwijde handel met grondstoffen voor de voedingsindustrie domineren. Die handel is big business. Eigenlijk is het best een beetje vreemd. De vier bedrijven hebben een gigantische omvang, maar wat hun namen zijn weet bijna niemand. Ze zorgen ervoor dat de grondstoffen dagelijks van verre akkers en via de verwerkende industrie naar ons bord worden gebracht en controleren zo bijvoorbeeld zeventig procent van de wereldwijde graanhandel. De vier zijn multinationale handelshuizen die je qua omzet zou kunnen vergelijken met complete landen. Bekende voedingsbedrijven als Unilever en Nestlé of zaadveredelaar Monsanto zijn slechts kleine broertjes. De jaaromzet van de vier handelshuizen is samen zo’n 250 miljard euro, ongeveer de helft van wat er in Nederland in één jaar verdiend wordt. Hun namen zijn ADM, Bunge, Cargill en Louis Dreyfus en worden ook wel afgekort tot ‘ABCD’.
Knowing a thing means you don’t need to believe in it. Whatever can be known, or proven by logic or evidence, doesn’t need to be taken on faith. Certain details of nutrition and the physiology of eating are known and knowable: the fact that humans require certain nutrients; the fact that our bodies convert food into energy and then into new flesh (and back to energy again when needed). But there are bigger questions that don’t have definitive answers, like what is the best diet for all people? For me?Nutrition is a young science that lies at the intersection of several complex disciplines—chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, psychology—and though we are far from having figured it all out, we still have to eat to survive. When there are no guarantees or easy answers, every act of eating is something like a leap of faith.
È il grande rimosso del nostro tempo. Gli allevamenti intensivi – i capannoni dove gli animali sono rinchiusi, fatti ingrassare, trattati con antibiotici per evitare che si ammalino, infine inviati alla macellazione – sono qualcosa che nessuno vuole vedere. Paradossalmente, mentre cresce il consumo di carne al livello globale, aumenta la distanza fisica e anche cognitiva tra noi esseri umani e gli animali di cui ci nutriamo.
The team of color scientists hovered in their white coats and hairnets, staring down at a clear plastic box full of strangely colored M&Ms. “They look like pebbles, ugly little pebbles,” said Rebecca Robbins, the color-chemistry manager for Mars Chocolate. She propped open the lid to show off a muted array of gray, tan, mauve, pale purple and sickly pink chocolate nuggets. Each attenuated shade was the disappointing outcome of an early attempt by Mars to replace a bright, artificial dye with natural pigments extracted from algae, roots, seeds and other parts of plants. Not a single piece of candy in this tackle box of failure looked edible — let alone tempting.
Noticeably absent was any M&M that even vaguely resembled blue, the most coveted, and hardest to find, of colors. Blue is a rarity among plants and animals. When it does occur in nature, it often isn’t truly blue, but rather a trick of diffraction, or the scattering of light, which is the case for bird feathers, sky, ice, water and iridescent butterfly wings. A blueberry is actually more red than blue when you mash it. “Unfortunately, you can’t just grind up a peacock feather,” said Robbins, a petite woman with a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and the empathic, wide-set blue eyes of a small-town bartender, with what sounded like genuine regret.
For more than a century, a poison cartel has experimented with and developed chemicals to kill people, first in Hitler’s concentration camps and the war, later by selling these chemicals as inputs for industrial agriculture.In a little over half a century, small farmers have been uprooted everywhere, by design, further expanding the toxic fields of the industrial agriculture.In India, a country of small farmers, the assault of the poison cartel has driven millions off the land and pushed 300,000 farmers to suicide due to debt for costly seeds and chemicals. The GMO seeds have failed to control pests and weeds. Instead they are creating super-pests and super-weeds, trapping farmers deeper in debt.And it is not just farmers who are dying. Our soil organisms and pollinators are dying. Our soils are dying. Our societies are dying. Our children are dying—because of diseases caused by food loaded with toxics.The introduction of GMOs, by the Poison Cartel, has accelerated the crisis of disease and death. The only reason GMOs are forcibly introduced is to claim patents on seeds – to collect royalties from every farmer, every season, every year. In India more than Rs 50 Billion has illegally been collected by Monsanto, from the cotton farmers of India. Within a few years of illegally entering India, Monsanto started to control 95% of the cotton seed supply. Most of the 300,000 farmers suicides are in the cotton belt.
Eight years ago this month, I published in these pages an open letter to the next president titled, “Farmer in Chief.” “It may surprise you to learn,” it began, “that among the issues that will occupy much of your time in the coming years is one you barely mentioned during the campaign: food.” Several of the big topics that Barack Obama and John McCain were campaigning on — including health care costs, climate change, energy independence and security threats at home and abroad — could not be successfully addressed without also addressing a broken food system.
A food system organized around subsidized monocultures of corn and soy, I explained, guzzled tremendous amounts of fossil fuel (for everything from the chemical fertilizer and pesticide those fields depended on to the fuel needed to ship food around the world) and in the process emitted tremendous amounts of greenhouse gas — as much as a third of all emissions, by some estimates. At the same time, the types of food that can be made from all that subsidized corn and soy — feedlot meat and processed foods of all kinds — bear a large measure of responsibility for the steep rise in health care costs: A substantial portion of what we spend on health care in this country goes to treat chronic diseases linked to diet. Furthermore, the scale and centralization of a food system in which one factory washes 25 million servings of salad or grinds 20 million hamburger patties each week is uniquely vulnerable to food-safety threats, whether from negligence or terrorists. I went on to outline a handful of proposals aimed at reforming the food system so that it might contribute to the health of the public and the environment rather than undermine it.
In May, 1994, a large FedEx box arrived at the office of Dr. Stanton Glantz, a public-health expert at the University of California, San Francisco, who specialized in tobacco research. Inside the box were four thousand pages of internal memoranda and correspondence dating back to the nineteen-fifties from the files of Brown & Williamson, which was then the third-largest tobacco company in the United States. The documents, which became known as the Cigarette Papers, showed that research funded by Brown & Williamson and the tobacco industry had demonstrated the addictive qualities of nicotine and the health hazards of smoking years before these things became public knowledge, and that tobacco companies had nonetheless embarked on a public campaign to deny what they knew to be true, from their own research, and to cast doubt on the dangers of cigarettes.
Robert Lustig is a paediatric endocrinologist at the University of California who specialises in the treatment of childhood obesity. A 90-minute talk he gave in 2009, titled Sugar: The Bitter Truth, has now been viewed more than six million times on YouTube. In it, Lustig argues forcefully that fructose, a form of sugar ubiquitous in modern diets, is a “poison” culpable for America’s obesity epidemic.
A year or so before the video was posted, Lustig gave a similar talk to a conference of biochemists in Adelaide, Australia. Afterwards, a scientist in the audience approached him. Surely, the man said, you’ve read Yudkin. Lustig shook his head. John Yudkin, said the scientist, was a British professor of nutrition who had sounded the alarm on sugar back in 1972, in a book called Pure, White, and Deadly.
“If only a small fraction of what we know about the effects of sugar were to be revealed in relation to any other material used as a food additive,” wrote Yudkin, “that material would promptly be banned.” The book did well, but Yudkin paid a high price for it. Prominent nutritionists combined with the food industry to destroy his reputation, and his career never recovered. He died, in 1995, a disappointed, largely forgotten man.