Our food system is failing, both in Ireland and internationally. Failing to provide a secure income for farmers, failing to provide healthy food for citizens, and failing to nurture and care for our environment and the heritage of future generations.
The globalisation of agricultural markets long promised to bring prosperity and stability to farmers and consumers. Instead we have seen the eradication of our own local and traditional high quality food production and an abundance of low quality, mass produced food. Farmers cannot guarantee prices which cover the costs of their production and are increasingly trapped in a vicious circle of falling prices and rising input costs.
Furthermore, processors and retailers undermine and fail to reward the work that farmers do by selling adulterated and heavily processed food to citizens. At the same time, organisations, individuals and collectives are developing new ways of organising the production, distribution and consumption of food in their localities. They propose an alternative political framework for food and agriculture in our society, based on the principles of Food Sovereignty.
Food Sovereignty means the people of Ireland reclaiming the right to how our food system is organised. It means dignity for farmers in their work, and healthy food for Irish citizens. It means ensuring high quality food for our local markets instead of high quantities for global markets. It means working with nature and developing production systems which do not rely on external inputs. It means citizens and farmers coming together to take a stand and build a better way of producing, distributing and consuming food in Ireland and around the world.
This conference in Castlebar is a first step in starting this discussion, and towards building a better food and agricultural system both in Ireland and worldwide.
It will include contributions from Paul Nicholson (Basque Farmers Union and member of Via Campesina), Luis Jalandoni (involved with sugar workers and peasant settlers in Negros, Central Philippines), John Brennan (Leitrim Organic Farmers Coop), Rose Kelly (Afri) and a speaker from United Farmers Association.
Join us on the 16th May at 7.30pm in the TF Royal Hotel, Old Westport Road, Castlebar, Co. Mayo (opposite Mayo General Hospital).
Organised by Afri in association with Food Sovereignty Ireland. This event is organised to coincide with the Annual Famine Walk in the Doolough Valley, Co. Mayo. For details about the Famine Walk, go here or see our Facebook event
You can also download the Food Sovereignty Assembly Brochure