local food column

Whilst visiting London last weekend I went to see the ‘We Feed The World’ photographic exhibition at the Bargehouse Gallery, SouthBank.

Coordinated by the Gaia Foundation, the exhibition brought together three years of work capturing the stories of small, family farmers from around the world who supply approximately 70% of the worlds food, despite the many challenges they face.

I found the stories and images to resonate deeply with those told through ‘Feeding Body and Soul’ photographic exhibition (the UK focused exhibition recently shown here in Lancaster); challenging the idea that ‘we need industrial agriculture and quick-fix technologies to feed an ever-increasing population’. Instead, a picture is painted of a food system where people and planet can be nurtured and farmers and communities empowered to develop their own solutions.

From ice covered Northern Sweden to the depths of the Amazon jungle, these images tell the diverse and inspiring stories of the men, women and families that supply the majority of the world’s food. In doing so…the image of the poor, struggling farmer [is replaced] with a truer, more resilient picture that both highlights the political complexities yet simple solutions that are available to us in addressing some of the greatest challenges of our time.” Francesca Price, We Feed the World project director.

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The exhibition was created by 40 photographers and featured 50 farming communities, spanning six continents, that use agro-ecological methods (farming practised in a way that respects all the living things).

Each featured community also played a role in showcasing the exhibition and sharing its stories. Whilst on show in London, each received an exhibition pack to display ‘We Feed the World’ in their localities, breaking the Guinness World Record for the number of simultaneous photographic exhibitions held at any one time.

Alongside the London exhibition a number of talks, workshops and demonstrations were organised in collaboration with the Landworkers Alliance, including a Good Food March on the 14th October. The march called for changes to UK agricultural policy ahead of World Food Day (16th October).

Jyoti Fernandes, Chair of the Landworkers Alliance commented: “As we leave the European Common Agricultural Policy, the UK agriculture bill will determine the future of our food system for the next 50 years or more. We want a food systems that support farmers to produce healthy, affordable food for everyone, using methods that are kind to animals, the earth and support independent farmers. This is a critical time for the public to come together and make their support for good food and good farming clear to those negotiating our future”.

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