Thoughts from IPSA Event: Exposing the Green Revolution
Last Thursday I sat with other IPSA members, NYU students, and food-loving, granola-crunching community activists (no judgment here, I unabashedly ate home-made granola in lecture while wearing
Birkenstocks last week) and listened to three panelists discuss the Green Revolution and its myths. All three panelists landed hard on the conclusion that genetically modified food and seeds are bad. That community involvement is good. That sustainability is key. And that the Green Revolution isn’t as much revolution as it is a mis-guided prescription by the developing world.
Useful lessons to be sure. And listening to Karen Washington, a NY City activist working on community gardens, is like adding a spoon-full of sugar- it really goes down. I almost raised my fist, “Yes! I am with you! Bring me back to my roots!”
Seems clear to me now that the Green Revolution may have increased overall food produced (did it really?) but it did not address the real problems of food in the developing world – namely access to markets, stability and distribution. While sold on the problem, I was left wondering about solutions.
Besides, what Josphat Ngonyo calls “education” and what Karen Washington called “enlightenment”, I’d love to hear other suggestions about how to get farmers to adopt more sustainable practices when they are either a) already stuck in a cycle necessitating GMO seeds or b) tempted by the amount of money they can earn by pulling away from sustainable practices that may increase biodiversity, sustainability but not necessarily the income of that farmer.
And most importantly, how could a world-wide, organized civil society movement of the magnitude the panelists suggested we need, be started? Easy.
I’ll give you this image. Me, granola in hand, sitting with a bunch of Kenyan farming women and telling them that the way they used to farm since the beginning of time, and maybe even forgot, is actually right, and how about we join hands across the ocean and push our governments for change? Aren’t I a clever development practitioner?
By: Sierra Visher