What have the 3 A’s got to do with Feeding Ourselves better – actually, what are the 3 A’s? Devyn Olson Saywer has more.
There is no doubt that cooperative approaches strengthen and build more resilient and sustainable food systems, while at the same time supporting our communities and local economies. Feeding Ourselves brought people from all over Ireland and from a number of organisations discussing the three As:
- Agtech (agricultural technology and digitisation),
- Aggregation (bring food aspects together for example via Community Supported Agriculture and Food Hubs) and
- Agroecology (in particular the emerging regenerative and biological agriculture movement). This was a fruitful exchange.
This is also a time for rural dialogues, both face-to-face and online. An example of this is the founding of Talamh Beo, a new Irish landworkers organisation, which formed as a result from meetings held at earlier Feeding Ourselves gatherings.
There is a grassroots movement of ecologically minded farming emerging – the regenerative agriculture movement. We focus from root-cause analysis and work up to the food chain. More and more, agroecological farmers and growers show how they are not only responding to the climate crisis, but actively engaged in regenerative practices.
Centralisation and privatisation of data exist in agriculture but there are high and low tech open source solutions to this enclosure, including the Farm Hack and other similar movements.
Our modern food supply chain can be long and troublesome – from the primary producers through the cultural economy of secondary producers, marketing and and distribution, crossing time zones and borders until food and food “products” finally reach the consumer.
Rural Revitalisation and Rural Dialogues
focused on multiple levels – people, communities, organisations, policy makers – all of whom play a part. We also need to generate real rural dialogues and partnerships. “We are already starting to organise ourselves – we need more than this. We need farmers and citizens side by side, building a critical mass.”
The report itself contains many links and resources as those attending discussed opportunities, threats and identified best practice.
The outcome of Feeding Ourselves 2019 is a commitment to enable representation for the farms and community gardens, the organisations and initiatives, and most of all the people who are living, working and acting in rural Ireland without adequate representation. It was a real unpacking of complex issues around practices, tactics and action.