Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Sustainable Agrictulture" is vital to meeting challenges from instability, price volatility, etc

According to a study presented in Brussels (a.k.a. the Capital of both Belgium and the European Union) there are challenges from food instability, food price volatility, etc, that demand a new sort of sustainable agriculture integrating social, environmental, economic and research/development.

They say it's a global problem that demands a global solution.  Global solutions mean some sort of United Nations process, possibly?

We should note that the phrase "sustainable agriculture" has multiple meanings.  Reading between the lines of the following they're focused on price stability, and continuing the growth curve with ever-increasing population meaning an ever-increasing demand for stuff.  I wonder whether it would be better to change the demand curve, perhaps by reducing population (as noted in GrowthBusters, "Most Important Film Ever Made," premiere Nov 2, challenges growth-at-all-costs policies), but it appears the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition isn't on that wavelength.

Looking over their website (see link below) their conception of "sustainable agriculture" isn't about organic or permaculture methodologies.  They're talking about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's), origin labeling, which crops use less water, the ecological footprint of food consumption, the rate of food consumption (e.g. one article points to the typical huge american diet and the typical huge american waist-line), etc.  One of their research areas is "Food for Sustainable Growth" which is focused on maintaining population growth, while somehow converting agriculture or consumption patterns to minimize ecological impact?

In other words - I appreciate that they're calling for "Sustainable Agriculture".  I appreciate that they're pointing to over-consumption, and calling for a smaller ecological impact from agriculture and food.  I appreciate they're calling attention to the unsustainable patterns.  I do not appreciate that "Sustainable Agriculture" in their terminology does not include agricultural practices that act to restore the land, such as Permaculture.

Achieving Sustainable Agriculture is Vital to Meeting Future Challenges, Demands a Multidisciplinary Approach

  BRUSSELS, October 20, 2011/PRNewswire/ -- Effectively addressing the challenges of delivering sustainable agriculture demands a multidisciplinary approach which integrates social, environmental, economic and R&D dimensions, according to a new study presented in Brussels today by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN).

Paolo De Castro, MEP, Chairman of the European Parliament's Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development, commented on key findings from the study at an open debate in the European Parliament, organised on behalf of the BCFN.

Speaking to representatives from European institutions, business and civil society, Mr. De Castro said; "We face a wide range of challenges; market instability and food price volatility, demographic growth, change in diets and lifestyles, environment and climate change. We are in a scenario where food will become more and more scarce, and will be increasingly expensive for everybody.

He continued; "We cannot hide from these challenges; we need to meet them head-on, by investing in research that will deliver solutions and finding new models to transfer innovation. This is a global problem that demands a global approach, which delivers a coordinated, comprehensive food security policy. The forthcoming CAP reform provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how a sustainable approach to agriculture can contribute to providing answers to this challenge."

Commenting on the findings of the study, Hans Herren, President of the Millennium Institute and member of the Advisory Board of the BCFN, said: "CAP reform can allow Europe to help define the standards for sustainability in agriculture. It is an opportunity to show leadership in effectively tackling a problem which will affect us all."

The full study The future of agriculture: Toward sustainable agricultural models will be presented on 30 November and 1 December at the third BCFN Forum in the Bocconi University, Milan.

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition is a multidisciplinary think tank focusing on issues of food and nutrition and their relations to economics, medicine, diet, sociology and the environment. The work of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition is backed by an authoritative Advisory Board composed of Barbara Buchner, Director of the Climate Policy Initiative in Venice, Mario Monti and John M. Reilly, economists, Gabriele Riccardi, endocrinologist, Camillo Ricordi, surgeon and scientist, Claude Fischler, sociologist and Umberto Veronesi, oncologist.

You may watch the event at http://www.barillacfn.com

Source: Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition For additional information: Barilla - Giuseppe Coccon - Tel. +39-0521-2621 - info@barillacfn.com - http://www.barillacfn.it; APCO Worldwide - Marie van Raemdonck - Tel. +32-2-645-98-11 - mvanraemdonck@apcoworldwide.com

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