Down Rialto way on Friday last I noticed the changes where Fatima Mansions used to stand. Changes for the better. While taking some photos outside the community garden a friendly enquiry was called out:
-Do you like the garden?
–I do, it’s great!
-come on in and have a look around.
I did not have to be asked twice and when inside I was amazed at how productive the small vegetable garden is.
Everything is organically grown, no herbicides no pesticides and defiantly no genetically engineered stuff. Monsanto was mentioned but I feel sure a fan club is not about to be set up any time soon. Mary who showed me around and is most definitely a political gardener, Eoin who invited me in and Jamey who was skilfully busy with a secateurs subscribe to the “Food Sovereignty” movement and philosophy.
All people have the right to decide what they eat and to ensure that food in their community is healthy and accessible for everyone. This is the basic principle behind food sovereignty. If you want to support domestic food security through the production of healthy food at a fair price, and you believe that family farmers and fishers should have the first right to local and regional markets, then food sovereignty is for you.
Food sovereignty is essential because our current food and farm system is broken. Small farmers in the US and globally cannot earn a fair price for what they raise, despite their high productivity. Meanwhile, more than 1.2 billion people around the world go hungry every day. As corporate-controlled agriculture spreads across the globe, the social and environmental costs weigh heavily on our communities. Driven by big corporations, the agricultural system no longer values healthy, delicious food, productive and sustainable rural communities or people’s right to make decisions about their communities and their farms.
The ideas of Food Sovereignty are not without their critics. The alternative “Green Revolution” way of increasing productivity by industrial farming is said by some to be necessary to feed the Earths growing population, however looking at how productive this Food Sovereignty managed community garden is it is hard to see how productivity could be a problem.
This path is rubble from the old Fatima Mansions.
Food Sovereignty maintains the problems of hunger are due to lack of purchasing power, production solely for the profit of multinational companies, ludicrously long supply chains and more.
They are also members of Seed Savers and grow many rare vegetables. The delicious kale along with some seeds which Mary generously gave me to try is of the “uncle John” variety which was saved in West Cork.
Food Sovereignty deserves to be better known, and what better place to spread the word than here.
You know, even the fish in the small fish pond seemed more full of life than the average pond fish.
Eamo 3 September 2013