I joined the march against agribusiness in Berlin on Saturday, 17 January. It is too easy to be blasé about yet another demonstration. However, the large turnout of tens of thousands of people of all ages during a winter day was good for me. It reminded me that many others also care deeply about our food, where it comes from, and how it is produced. I know there is a vibrant food movement in North America and especially in the US, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it is also powerful and broad-based in Germany.
Food system failure
The rallying message for the march was 'We are fed up'. It appropriately encapsulated a growing and widespread outrage about how food is produced and the negative environmental and social impacts it has. The full list would be too long but let me mention a few: health and ecological impacts of pesticides, herbicides, genetically engineered seeds, industrial animal farming, water pollutions due to synthetic fertilizers, further weakening of environment and health protection by free trade agreement (TTIP/CETA), threats to pollinators like bees – the list goes on.
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The strongest message of hope I took home from this march was that many people are doing more than just turning up to demonstrations. They are actually doing something directly about their food: changing their own diet with no (or less and organic) meat, buying more food directly from local farmers, and so on. Obviously some are full time organic (or soon-to-be organic) farmers but many are also part-time gardeners, others are involved in food justice and solidarity organisations, and more.
Time for you to join the food movement
Wherever you are, you can join the emerging global movement. Millions of farmers are taking control of their own future and the right to produce good food to feed people – not the pockets of agribusiness. You can buy more food from farmers' markets or get more healthy food from local ecological farms. Just connect to local food groups or even create your own. Be part of the trending movement! Get your hands dirty!