In Our Hands – Seeding Change
Directed by Jo Bailey and Silvie Planet (2018)
With the COVID19 lockdown already driving shortages in milk, meat, and flour in Britain and impending meat shortages predicted for the US, this documentary offers an inspiring vision for a “normal” in which people produce, process, and consume local traditionally grown food.
The film concerns the Landowners Alliance, an organization of British farmers that is part of Via Compesina, and international organization of more the 200 million small farmers. Contrary to the public image promoted by the corporate agriculture lobby, small landholders still produce 70% of the global food supply.
The film begins by tracing how industrial agriculture has already bankrupted thousands of British farmers. It has done so by monopolizing seed production at the front end and processing, transportation, and marketing at the back end. In this way, they capture so much of the food pound, farmers who persist who persist in industrial farming no longer recoup sufficient revenue to cover their costs.
At the same time, corporate industrial agriculture is also systematically destroying soil fertility and the environment, as well as food security for most residents of the industrial North.
Farmers in the Landowners Alliance support each other by forming coops to save and share heirloom seeds, farm machinery, and joint processing and marketing schemes that bypass corporate middlemen to sell farm produce directly to consumers.
The organization also promotes organic permaculture (aka polyculture) farming (as opposed to the monoculture cropping practiced by industrial agriculture),** heritage open pollinated grains, and urban farms in Britain’s big cities.
*The filmmakers definite food security (aka food sovereignty) as the right of every human to access healthy food grown on their own land. Under the current global industrial agriculture scheme, 40% of soy and grains produced are fed to livestock. Not only is this unconscionable in the face of growing world hunger (rough one billion out of the seven billion global population), but totally unsustainable in the long run.
**Decades of research reveal that this permaculture farming produces far higher yields (measured in calories per acre) than industrial farming.
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