Resistance activist Naomi Rodgers-Falk and Socialist Alliance's Margaret Gleeson led a roundtable discussion with 25 others on "Solutions to the global food crisis" at Northey Street City Farm on June 8.
Rodgers-Falk outlined the cause of the global crisis, including agro-fuels, which she said are "taking food out of the mouths of the Third World to feed First World SUVs". She pointed to the connection between rapidly rising oil prices and "peak oil", as well as the destructive effects of climate change and weather extremes on arable lands.
"The root cause of the crisis, however, is the system of imperialism, in which a rich minority in the developed world dictate the terms of production in the less developed nations through the World Bank and IMF. This system leaves the rich majority exploited and, often, starving tools of the rich", said Rodgers-Falk. She outlined how many subsistence farmers are even more poverty-stricken since being forced to cultivate cash crops, and how highly subsidised US farm goods are flooding into the Third World wiping out local farmers' income.
Gleeson outlined some of the solutions being implemented in Venezuela and Cuba, including a "food bank" designed to guarantee basic food production needs to countries in Latin America.
"Venezuela is empowering its population to fight for food sovereignty, with President Hugo Chavez supporting thousands of cooperatives and urban farms to end the country's sole dependence on oil — which was a result of its treatment by imperialism", said Gleeson.
Gleeson recalled Cuba's move to permaculture and organic city farms. She said Cuba was a good illustration of how it would be possible to move away from dependence on oil towards a rational ecological and people-first system.
[For more information on Brisbane's monthly Socialist Alliance-sponsored discussions — of which this was one — or to get involved, phone Marg on 0439 411 330.]