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Vancouver Statement

SEHN - Statements The Vancouver Statement On the Globalization and Industrialization of Agriculture

We believe that the industrialization and globalization of food and fiber imperils humanity and the natural world. Reducing farming to a monocultural, synthetic, transnational corporate business threatens the health, nourishment, right livelihood, and spirituality of communities and the earth. It is insane to believe that we must poison land and water and waste the soil in order to feed and clothe ourselves. Five decades of the so-called Green Revolution have not only led to the destruction and contamination of water, soil, biodiversity, and human communities, but exacerbated hunger worldwide. One of the most critical impacts of industrial agriculture is climate change, which will destroy the natural basis of agriculture itself. The patenting of life, corporate ownership and manipulation of our genetic heritage is one of the greatest threats ever imposed by industrial agriculture: the human right to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves and our families is at stake. Institutions and treaties such as the World Trade Organization, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, North American Free Trade Agreement, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the European Union have accelerated the process of agricultural industrialization and globalization while promoting the rights of corporations over those of people.

We know that there are non-toxic and non-destructive alternatives to global industrial agriculture, and we know that these alternatives can provide more food. Farmers around the world are farming in ways that respect their unique ecological and cultural communities. Building on their wisdom, all farms of the twenty-first century can be ecologically regenerative, community sustaining, biologically and culturally diverse, as well as energy conserving. We must not only build upon the existing knowledge and vision of farmers, but we must expand partnerships and create coalitions that serve to re-empower them.

In order to rescue our food system, we need more skilled farmers who have access to land, seed, and the knowledge of local biological systems. Also essential to a healthy food system, is clean land, air, water and soil and the right to save seeds to ensure future harvests.

Scientific organizations and transnational corporations that are experimenting with, and releasing poisons, synthetic compounds and genetically modified organisms into the biosphere should be held fully accountable for the safety of their practices and products. Corporations, scientists and governments should honor the precautionary principle and take preventive action in the face of scientific uncertainty in order to avoid cultural and ecological harm.

We affirm, with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that the right to food is sacred. The right to food transcends basic nutrition and hunger and includes the right to produce one's own food. We also affirm that consumers have the right to know where their food comes from, what is in it, and how it was produced.

Furthermore, farmers and consumers have a right to maintain local control over food production, distribution and consumption.

Our bodies, our plants and animals, our air, water, land, and soil, are not commodities and are not patentable. When a food production system violates the rights of citizens and the natural order of the planet's ecosystems, it is essential that we the people make use of our inalienable freedom to correct those abuses. We stand united on these points.


Vancouver Statement Signatories

Hal Hamilton Center for Sustainable Systems, US
Ronnie Cummins Pure Food Campaign, US
Tim Lang Centre for Food Policy, U.K.
Carolyn Raffensperger Science and Environmental Health Network, US
Candido Gryzbowski IBASE, Brazil
Mark Ritchie Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy, US
Victor Suarez Carrero ANEC (Asociacion Nacional de Empresas Comercializadoras Campesinas), Mexico
Alejandro Rojas University of British Columbia, Canada
Steve Shrybman West Coast Environmental Law Association, Canada
Jose A. Lutzenberger Fundacao Gaia, Brazil
Miguel Altieri University of California - Berkeley, US
Jeanot Minla Mfou'ou Agriculture Peasant & Modernization Network, Cameroon
Herb Barbolet and Kathleen Gibson Farm Folk/City Folk, Canada
Helena Norberg-Hodge International Society for Ecology and Culture, U.K./US
Carolyn Mugar Farm Aid, US
Gregor Robertson Happy Planet Foods, Canada
Mika Iba Network for Safe and Secure Food and Environment, Japan
Sigmund Kvaloy Setreng Insitute for Ecophilosophy, Norway
Will Allen Sustainable Cotton Project, US
Professor Nanjunda Swamy Karnataka Farmers' Union, India
Franco Adriano Werlang Fundacao Gaia, Brazil
Lori Ann Thrupp World Resources Institute, US
Monica Moore Pesticide Action Network- North America, US
Nancy Hirshberg Stonyfield Farm, Inc., US
Wendell Berry Lanes Landing Farm, US
Moura Quayle University of British Columbia, Canada
Andrew Kimbrell International Center for Technology Assessment, US
Jerry Mander Public Media Center, US
Kate Duesterberg University of Vermont - Center for Sustainable Agriculture, US
Brewster Kneen "The Ram's Horn," Canada
Cathleen Kneen "The Ram's Horn," Canada
Fred Kirschenmann Kirschenmann Family Farm, US
Flavio Valente Associacao para Projetos de Combate a Fome, Brazil
Karen Lehman Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy, US
Kathy Ozer National Family Farm Coalition, US
Anuradha Mittal Food First, US
Peter Rosset Food First, US
Laurie MacBride Georgia Strait Alliance, Canada
Shirley Sherrod Federation of Southern Cooperatives, US
Vandana Shiva Research Institute for Natural Resource Policy, India
Dan Imhoff Foundation for Deep Ecology, US
Dena Hoff National Family Farm Coalition, US
Nettie Wiebe National Farmers' Union, US
Martin Khor Third World Network, Malaysia
Martin Khor National Farmers' Union, US
Peter Montague Environmental Research Foundation
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