Food sovereignty reclaims the right of people to define, design and determine how their food system operates and whom it serves. It places the wellbeing of the individual, the community and nature at the center.
Working for food sovereignty is the social immune response to the pathology of a corporatized food system. From the planting of a seed to farmers, workers and the act of eating, food sovereignty is the right and responsibility to become educated, ethical participants in the economic, social, cultural and environmental exchanges that compose our food system.
The Bioneers conference produces keynotes, workshops and events on ecological agriculture and sustainable food systems to provide the resources and information to promote and support food sovereignty. Here are seven sessions (of many more!) to check out at this year’s conference.
Farming for Healing and Culture Change
American agriculture is in a major transition. The average age of the American farmer is 58 and fewer and fewer of the next generation of farm families want to follow in their parents foots steps. The importance of land transition and those who will work it is the topic of Severine vT Fleming’s keynote, Millions of Acres: Young Agrarians Needed.
Local food, now $4.8 billion in sales, is one of the most tangible expressions of food sovereignty. How to astutely design ways to maximize local production, create face-to-face market opportunities for local transactions and nurture a new agrarian culture will be discussed by Michael Shuman, author of Local Dollars, Local Sense; Sibella Krause of Sustainable Agriculture Education; and farmer, filmmaker and farmer organizer Severine vT Fleming as part of the panel Re-Localizing the Food System.
Keynoter Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, who is working in profound ways to empower women in some of the most oppressive places in the world, teamed up with Brock Dolman and Dave Henson of Occidental Arts & Ecology Center to develop a Permaculture-based cooperative farm as a haven for women rape survivors in the Congo. Join Eve, Dave and Brock in the workshop City of Joy: Turning Pain to Planting and Power.
Food Knowledge Is Power
Knowledge is power. The arrogance of the argument that people don’t need to know what’s in their food, how it’s grown, whether it has been genetically modified or what pesticides are wiping out our pollinators is a wake-up call to become informed, aware and active.
One of the most egregious ways in which the dominant industrial food system has usurped food sovereignty is by perversely claiming ownership of seed genetics by genetically modifying and patenting them.
To learn more about how you can help protect our food supply, join visionary leaders John Roulac of Nutiva, GMO labeling activist Stacy Malkan, and Gopal Dayeneni of Movement Generation in the workshop Labeling GMOs: Lessons Learned and Next Steps.
Kirk Bergstrom of Nourish is helping to create a culture of food system transparency and a literate and informed citizenry. He will be joined by Jared Lawson of Pie Ranch and Health Education Specialist Alyson Wylie of Cal State, Chico in the workshop Food Literacy as a Catalyst for Social Change.
Seeds are the essence of all agrarian activities. This year we are honored to have Flordemayo, one of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, do a seed blessing to open the Seed Exchange. Bring seeds to share, learn from seed masters and help preserve biodiversity. The seed exchange hosts are Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, Tesuque Pueblo Farm, Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library, Living Seed Company, Sustainable Seed Company.
Get Hands-on Experience at a Post-Conference Intensive
For a close-up view of how you can actively engage in nurturing food sovereignty at the most local level—your own backyard—you will want to be part of the one-day post-conference intensive Food System Resilience from Homestead to Community and Beyond.
In this sustainability tour and workshop on food system self-reliance led by Trathen Heckman of Daily Acts, with Naomi Starkman of the award-winning website Civil Eats and Farm Guild organizer Evan Wiig, we will see elegant examples of Permaculture design and successful mature models of local sustainability including: gray water systems, community gardens, edible landscapes, food forests, water harvesting earthworks, and rain gardens.
Join Us October 17-20 in San Rafael, CA!
We welcome you to join us at the Bioneers 25th Anniversary Summit Conference. It takes a collective effort to envision the world we want and it takes knowledge fueled by inspiration in partnership with skilled allies to get there.
Bioneers rebuilds the bridges that inherently connect food sovereignty and food and farming with a host of other important issues like indigenous knowledge, youth leadership, ecological design, women’s leadership, social justice, and ecosystem restoration.
The movement for a healthier more just planet is alive, well and emerging in ever more creative forms at Bioneers—including you! Join us in growing the movement for healthy, just and ecological food system the world wants.