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"Don't shoot the messenger " is George Monbiot's response to the criticism of #ApocalypseCow — his new documentary that argues lab-grown meat will destroy farming and save the planet. The wheels are already in motion, it seems. New technologies that will replace farmers have arrived in the “nick of time”.

According to Monbiot, "Ferming" — not farming — is the future of food. A process of brewing microbes through precision fermentation, ferming literally makes food out of thin air. …

It’s time to stop the infighting. Whilst we're busy bickering over cow farts, the horror of expanding factory farms marches merrily on.

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We take it for granted that factory farms will (eventually) disappear. After all, no one is really for factory farms. Animal rights activists and environmentalists certainly aren't. Neither are farmers, nor the general public. We all have our differences, but unless we put them aside and make these horror houses priority number one, factory farms here to stay, spread, and dominate.

Artificial meat won't save us

With Wall Street's backing, confidence in plant-based burgers is $ky-high — just look at that soaring stock price! You could almost hear the collective sigh of relief as Silicon Valley’s darling of miracle meats — Beyond Meat — burst…

From sugar highs to gut-wrenching lows, here is a look back at 2018 through the lens of sustainable food

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A look back at food in 2018 through the For Food's Sake podcast. Subscribe for more content in 2019 at

1. Monsanto (Bayer AG) facing its Tobacco moment

The 2018 Dwayne “Lee” Johnson vs. Monsanto trial marks the world’s first-ever court case over claims Monsanto's Roundup herbicide causes cancer. In this groundbreaking case, Lee Johnson, a father of three and former school groundskeeper, alleges that his exposure to Monsanto's weedkiller gave him cancer.

Thousands of similar legal cases are awaiting trial in 2019. Is this Monsanto’s 'Big Tobacco' moment?

Ten thousand years ago, the bulk of the world's arable landscapes consisted of woodlands, grasslands, and rainforests. Today, annual cereal grains have stripped our land of biodiversity. Perennial grains are on the horizon, and with it a new possibility to rethink our relationship to our food, our planet, and ourselves.

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This paper consists of extracts from the author's Masters Dissertation, entitled "A Perennial Path To Sustainable Agriculture: In what ways can the perennial agriculture movement avoid the pitfalls of conventionalisation and mainstreaming exemplified by the organic and fair trade movements?", submitted in partial fulfillment of the Masters in Management, Sustainability and Social Innovation at HEC Paris.

Occupying more than three quarters of arable land, annual crops such as wheat, maize and rice have come to replace the biodiverse, resilient, ancient mixture of perennial plants that once reigned supreme on the earth's surface.

The story of annuals replacing perennial plants is the story of agriculture.

The story of agriculture is the story of humankind's domestication of plants and animals.

The story of domestication is the story of humankind's domination over nature.

But what are annuals and perennials?

Perennial plants are plants whose life cycle lasts more than one year (from seed to bloom to seed). There are many different types, including perennial grasses, shrubs, trees, grains and legumes. They are often defined in opposition to annuals which are plants ‘planted from seed, grow to maturity, produce seed or fruit and then die, all in one year’.

Some perennial species retain their…

Trying to ‘become’ a change-maker misses the point. Instead, we should focus on nurturing and building environments, spaces and places in which 'change-making' can take place between individuals. Rather than trying to claim ownership of the term or assign the term as a label to select individuals, let's study and learn from the exchanges between individuals; that is what ultimately creates lasting and meaningful change.

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Me me me me me!

The Changemaker term is as idealised as it is paralysing. No one should still be under any illusion that the challenges we face are systemic; they are global in nature and unsolvable by any one individual alone. Yet we continue to focus overwhelmingly on individuals; idolising a select few that have, against all odds, changed the world.

We all love a good hero.

Heroes can undoubtedly inspire millions to make positive changes. But by labelling oneself — or others — as 'changemakers', we are too often shifting collective responsibility on to the shoulders of a select few. Naturally, we can't all be Changemakers; that would make…

What the Oldest Profession of Humankind has taught me about being a Social Entrepreneur

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Originally published 23 July, 2018 in Rank & File Magazine — “Cultivate: What the Oldest Profession of Humankind has taught be about being a Social Entrepreneur

Imagine if the weather was your boss. At times, forgiving, even kind; other times, unpredictable and merciless. Appearing as rain, she chooses on a given month or year to be your best friend or your worst enemy — boosting productivity or battering your business. In the form of frost, she may strike far too soon or much too late and cripple cash flows, ridiculing the very idea of what seasons are supposed to be for. Let’s just say that this boss likes to keep you on your toes. …

The Original Foodies is a new documentary that shares the stories of farmers obsessed about growing good food. But what could we possible mean by “good”? I’m glad you asked.

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A world of good food is a world full of sunshine and rainbows

Good food is …

Food that is fair

Fair food sustains the people growing it, handling it and eating it, and is fair for the planet and its precious resources.

  • It is food that economically supports farmers, farmworkers and food workers through fair compensation for their labour. That means fair prices, margins, and wages for all workers along the value chain of the food industry. Sounds pretty fair, right? We agree!
  • What else? Fair food also means ensuring that food can be produced in conditions that do not harm the well-being and health of those growing it. That means no abuse of working hours or overuse of harmful…

The fight for peasant rights — from land rights and access to natural resources to seed saving and right to use traditional agricultural knowledge and practices — are one step closer to becoming international law.

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Decades of political mobilisation, organising and persistence in championing the rights of peasants, spearheaded by La Via Campesina, culminated on September 28, 2018 with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas.

The declaration, which will be up for vote and adoption by all United Nations Member States in New York in November, recognises a fundamental reality often ignored in food security debates:

peasants have and will continue to be central actors in the fight against hunger and malnutrition and the realisation of a regenerative, just and lasting food system.

But who are they?

The term…

Rediscovering food in the world’s food capital

I live in Paris: the sentimental capital of gastronomy. Or so they say. A food lover’s paradise. Yet for all that Paris has to give, for all the tastes and all the glory, how much of what it has to offer is, in fact, ‘Parisian’?

After interviewing best-selling author J.B. Mackinnon of the 100-Mile Diet for the For Food’s Sake podcast last week, I got thinking. What would a Parisian 100-mile diet look like?

The challenge:

For 7 days, eat only food produced within a 100 mile radius of where I live. No exceptions. For starters, that means no condiments, no sugar…

The paradoxical political strategy of scorn, ridicule, and shame

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Yep, you read that right. Bear with me.

Liberals laughed at the prospect of Trump in the White House. They stigmatised, ridiculed, and scorned those supporting or sympathising with Trump’s message. A political strategy of shaming Trump supporters backfired, and helped get him elected.

Vegans too have gained a reputation for stigmatising, ridiculing, and scorning meat and dairy eaters. Ex-vegans are particularly lambasted for choosing to return to a diet containing meat. Vegan ‘militant’ hostility (by a minority) alienates conscious consumers, concerned vegetarians, and other vegans. It tarnishes the reputation of all plant-focused dietary movements.

Labelling all Trump’s supporters as…

Matteo De Vos

Sustainable food enthusiast, environmentalist & lifelong learner

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