Thursday, June 24, 2010

Interview with Sarah Pecas, Greenpeace France

Greenpeace France June 15, 2010

Greenpeace France provides five policy cornerstones for fundamental changes in farming and food systems in order to feed the world sustainably. They are: 1. Prioritizing the resource needs and knowledge of the world’s small-scale ecological farmers. 2. Supporting ecological farming systems with public research and investments monies. 3. Supporting the multiple ecological functions of agriculture through policies that value and protect ecosystem services. 4. Addressing climate change through the agriculture sector with support for ecological farming. 5. Recognizing the inter-related principles of food sovereignty and the right to food.

Greenpeace Campaigner Sarah Pecas believes that the slogan, act locally and think globally is necessary but she states that to act globally and think locally is equally important. Her campaign efforts go towards combating genetically modified products (GMO’s) in France and beyond. France’s food products have less than 1% GMO’s which by law must be label in contrast to foods in USA, where up to 80% contain GMO’s and requires zero labeling. Sarah sees a correlation between countries which have GMO businesses and the lack of governmental oversight in GMO’s effect on human and environmental health, labeling, and comprehensive media reporting. France restricts the growing of GMO’s but allows imports of livestock feed that of which contains 80% GMOs. Sarah says there is yet to be unbiased data to reflect the effects of GMO’s on human and livestock health, but there is significant evidence indicating the negative impacts of GMO’s on local economies and the environment. GMO’s contribute to climate change, to excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers, to the destruction of small farmers, to ‘super’ chemical resistant weeds and pests, to the contamination of conventional seed crops, and false promises of greater yields as a measure of decreasing world hunger. Data on GMO’s can be found on Greenpeace International website at:

I asked Sarah what we could do individually and in our communities to address food sovereignty.

Greenpeaace believes that there are 15 simple steps to take in food security: 1. Food first (agriculture should provide all residents of a region the necessary means to feed themselves a health diet). 2. Smallholders are the key to sustainable food security. 3. Women make the difference. (Women provide the larger part of agricultural labor, food processing, household health and nutrition services). 4. Replace monocultures with diversity. 5. Design agricultural policies the support and enhance the multiple ecological functions of agriculture. 6. Escape the pesticide treadmill! 7. Minimise fossil fuel dependency. 8. Grow and produce food as close to those who eat it as possible. 9. Reduce and optimize meat production and consumption. 10 Reduce food waste and other agricultural products at every step of production, processing, and distribution. 11. Rethink and improve how bioenergy is produced and utilized. 12. Plant more trees! 13. Adapt global trade for the major challenges ahead. 14. Share the knowledge needed for survival! 15. Continue global multi-stakeholder exchange of knowledge and views.

“Green washing” is what Sarah calls the false promises by agri-businesses about the benefits of their costly products. Their rhetoric is about making a profit and food dependency, not in addressing world hunger. By decentralizing our food system and bringing the farm closer to our table, we can address problems such as food safety and food security, as well as environmental issues as water crisis, forest destruction, loss of biodiversity, and climate change.

Thank you Sarah for the interview and thank you Greenpeace France for your stellar work and commitment to our Earth!

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