"Movements for Food Sovereignty: A People’s Solution to Corporate Control of Food Systems Worldwide" part of Rise Up! Summer School 2022: Future Paradigms

Curriculum via the Community Alliance for Global Justice and AGRA Watch

Throughout the month of August, we are going to be learning about philanthrocapitalism, and the ways in which institutions like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are trying to change agriculture in Africa and other parts of the world under the guise of making it "climate-smart." We will also learn about the grassroots response to this "corporate takeover" of agriculture, by looking at groups and movements promoting agroecology and food sovereignty. 

Industrial agriculture contributes over a third of worldwide greenhouse
gas emissions. As the world faces increased droughts, temperatures, and
other risks caused by climate change, a transition to more sustainable
practices is urgently needed. In response, philanthropic organizations like
the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are pressuring powerful institutions
like the US Department of Agriculture, the World Bank, and other
governments around the world that we should count on “climate-smart
agriculture” as a model for climate change adaptation.

This model, which relies on artificial intelligence, robotics, drones,
genetic engineering, and other digital technologies, is now being pushed
through international governance forums. At the 2021 COP26 (global climate
negotiations), US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the Aim
for Climate (AIM4C) initiative, spearheaded by the US and United Arab
Emirates. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, AIM4C would
“accelerate investment in innovative, science-based solutions to increase
food security and help agriculture and food systems mitigate and adapt to
climate change.” But when we account for the climate impact of large data
centers, the cost of rolling out "cutting-edge tech," concerns over data
ownership, and the ways in which such initiatives undermine accessible
agroecological solutions already in practice, we are forced to ask: Who
benefits from the so-called “climate-smart” solutions being
proposed—corporations, or farmers themselves?

Learning goals/objectives:

1) Understand why mainstream agricultural development programs often 
fail to address the root causes of inequality, hunger, and poverty
around the world (including imperialism, capitalism, and
corporate-dominated agriculture), and instead exacerbate these

2) Distinguish between food security, as an approach that focuses on
 ensuring people’s access to food, and food sovereignty, as an approach
that focuses on changing deeper power relations in food systems;

3) Learn about some of the on-the ground initiatives/projects to bolster
 agroecology around the world and how these contribute to building
alternative economies, farms, and knowledge networks. 

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