Thursday, 27. October
City Museum of Ljubljana, 16.00 – 18.00

  • Andreas Exner, Social Innovation Network, Austria
  • Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas in Accion, Spain
  • Elisabeth Janssen, A Seed of Europe, The Netherlands

Moderator: Živa Gobbo, Focus – Association for Sustainable Development, Slovenia

Andreas Exner (1973, Austria), currently lives in Graz and Klagenfurt, Austria.
Topics of his interest are: land grab, political economy, solidarity economy, commons. He published several books and many articles. He is a part of the platform “Demonetize it!” (demonetize.it), coordinates the weblog “Social Innovation Network” (www.social-innovation.org) and is publisher of the journal Streifzuege (www.streifzuege.org).

From Land Grab to Food Sovereignty

Since 2008 private investors and states are looking for large swathes of land in order to profit from biofuels, rising meat and milk consumption, land speculation and the ensuing food price surge. EU investors both seek land in Africa and in the European periphery. In Europe, the Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania are main targets. Furthermore, investors from the Middle East, Asia and the USA play a major role. Those also invest in European agricultural land. This land grab deprives local producers from access to land and further entrenches a profit-driven, export-oriented, corporate-led food regime with negative consequences for human well-being both socially and ecologically. At the same time, an opposing vision of agriculture gains in popularity: food sovereignty denotes the right of all peoples to define their mode of producing and consuming food by themselves.

Tom Kucharz is an activist and a social researcher, based in Madrid, Spain. He studies Political Sciences, Sociology and Philosophy, and is a member of “Ecologistas en Acción” (www.ecologistasenaccion.org), a confederation with about 250 local groups of  social and political ecologists, where he is a part of the Permament Secretary and coordinates the Department on Agro-Ecology and Food Sovereignty. He represents “Ecologistas en Acción” in different international networks: Bi-regional Network Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean “Linking Alternatives” (www.enlazandoalternativas.org), Seattle to Brussels Network (www.s2bnetwork.org), Climate-Justice-Now! (www.climate-justice-now.org), Our World is not for Sale (www.ourworldisnotforsale.org). He also participates in the Anti-Globalization, Anti-War and in the 15-M “Indignants” movements, and is also very active in the Anti-debt campaigns (in Spain “Who owes whom?”, www.quiendebeaquien.org), the Food Sovereignty Movement (in Spain represented by the rural platform “Plataforma Rural”) and the struggles against the “Europe of Capital”.

He imparts lectures, conferences, seminars and workshops, as well as researches and writes on very different topics such as the Global Crisis (systemic and multi dimensional), international politics, Globalization and Anti-Globalization movements/struggles, European Union, world economics and international trade – investment policies (free trade agreements, WTO, etc.), Ecological Crisis and Climate Change, Climate Justice, International Financial Institutions, External Debt and Ecological Debt, corporate power and the crimes of transnational companies, Agro-Ecology, GMO and Food Sovereignty, energy crisis and agro fuels, social movements and struggles, migration, participatory democracy, public services (especially water), international solidarity and peace (especially the war in Colombia).

Is the EU the Solution or the Problem? Social and Environmental Consequences of the EU-Project in the Context of the Global Systemic Crisis and the Euro-Med Uprising

EU-Project enforces migration, environmental and social problems connected to industrial agriculture in South of Spain in the context of:

  • Corporate power and aggressive EU’s foreign and migration politics (e.g. EU-Fortress and militarization of the borders and the control of trade routs);
  • Trade and investment policies (e.g. EU-Med free trade negotiations);
  • Global systemic crisis, the dictatorship of the financial markets and EU’s “shock doctrine”.

Food crisis and financial speculation in food commodities and other natural resources, impacts of climate change, energy crisis and oil peak in the beginning of the end of fossil fuel era, promotion of GMOs, agrofuels and land grabbing. Human Rights violations and wars on recourses. EURO crisis and the “new” European Economic Governance.

Resistances to the EU-Project both within (e.g. Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain) and outside the EU (Arab Spring Uprising) are beginning to articulate with one another. Opposing the Europe of Capital and military interventions. Working towards an ecologically sustainable and socially just model of food production and consumption based on non-industrial smallholder farming, processing and alternative distribution. Decentralizing the food distribution system and shortening the chain between producers and consumers. Improving working and social conditions, particularly in field of food and agriculture. Democratizing decision-making on the use of the Commons and heritage (land, water, air, traditional knowledge, seeds and livestock). Ensuring that public policies at all levels guarantee the vitality of rural areas, fair prices for food producers and safe, GMO-free food for all.

Elisabeth Janssen is a cook, editor and translator engaged in community-organised housing and childcare, social/cultural centres and music events, free media and vegan cuisine. She is currently involved in the organisation A SEED Europe, dealing with campaigning for social and environmental justice, emphasising the link between food, agriculture and climate change.

A SEED Europe (Action for Solidarity, Environment, Equality and Diversity Europe) is an international campaigning organisation that prioritises involving youth in direct democracy activities. It was established by young engaged people in 1991, in response to the UNCED Earth Summit proceedings in Rio de Janeiro, with the aim to forge alliances among young people committed to social and environmental justice. The organisation is based in Amsterdam with many contacts in the rest of Europe and abroad.

Who Feeds You, Who Do You Feed and What is Eating You?

My presentation during the conference will contain the following ingredients:

  • Should the EU adopt intellectual property rights and patent law based on the US model? The European Patent Office granted agro-chemical multinationals patents on not just GM food and feed, but increasingly on conventional fruit, vegetables and animals.
  • How do biotechnology, patent and seed laws affect the lives of farmers and rural communities?
  • Why we need agri-diversity in times of climate change?
  • We know industrial agriculture is frying the planet – can we grow food to cool it down?

The DIY approach to defending what we have got and building independence from global markets and corporations.

Bon Appetit!

Živa Gobbo is a concerned activist working in the field of environmental issues, climate change, sustainable development theories and practices, living and working in Ljubljana, Slovenia. She holds a MA in cultural anthropology/African studies of the University in Ljubljana. She is publishing her columns on environmental topics and topics dealing with sustainable development in various Slovenian newspapers through the Focus association (www.focus.si).

She is active within the organisation since 2007, currently she is the Chairperson and leader of Global Responsibility and Consumption Programme. She is cooperating also within Sloga, Slovenian NGO platform for development cooperation and various institutions, dealing with different aspects of sustainable development and education for sustainable development.