There is no TV program where you do not talk about food, cooking, tastes, various specialties, diets, in order to present the many excellences of Italian cuisine, including chefs, to induce us to eat better, – no one doubts it ! – maybe according to the fashions of the moment, and feed the business of made in Italy, increasing its prestige in the world. Very praiseworthy thing. But we rarely hear words that enlighten us more about the great game that is being played on our skin. Yes, sometimes the speech slips on the zero kilometer, on homemade products, on the opportunity to reduce transport and to move towards seasonal products.
All right things, no doubt, but what are the mechanisms that ravage the agri-food system and also the life of the planet? What is the real relationship between the agri-food production system and health? Well, a clear and firm response to this question it is provided by the Manifesto ‘Food for Health’, ‘Food for Health’, organized by Navdanya International, whose goal is to provide to more many people as possible a mobilization tool a transition to local, ecological and diversified food systems. To prepare a near future, since – says Vandana Shiva , the Indian physics and biologist, known for his battles of civilization in defense of food sovereignty, the seeds and the rights of small farmers, that readers of L’Indro they already know.
“The measure is full. Soils poisoned by toxic chemicals , the industrial model that is suffocating free small-scale agriculture and killing biodiversity , the standardization of food deprived of their nutrients , the huge interests that drive multinationals and governments denying protection to citizens-consumers : everything this represents a reality today that is hurting us and the planet. We are in a state of emergency , to remove which we must intervene immediately “ .
The Manifesto written by international experts from all over the world serves to direct us in this complex reality and to consider the importance of agroecology, that is the science of which Vandana has been the champion for years, aware of the fact that the cycle of life is a cycle food. This awaited document has seen its own gestation last May in Florence, where Navdanya has its own headquarters, the other is in Rome – then, just published was presented at the Sana of Bologna and in the Press Room of the Chamber of Deputies, Pawan present Kumar Chamling , Prime Minister of the Indian state of Sikkim, who converted 100% of his agricultural production to organic farming.
The document is addressed to governments around the world to say enough to this economic system and give voice , hope and future to all those who tomorrow will want to live and take action and consumption – says the scientist – towards a sustainable paradigm . The Manifesto, which presents itself as an appeal to food resistance, published by Nuova Edizioni, condenses 122 pages (in addition to the extensive bibliography) scientific analyzes conducted to date in the various fields: medical, environmental, agri-food, chemical, water, economic and others. The data is terrible, we want to take a quick look at the most indicative ones? Let’s start with the pesticides that are the main cause of the devastating effects on our health : over 80,000 are the new chemicals and 20 million by-products marketed since the Second World War . Since 1945 , global pesticide production has risen from 0.1 to 2.7 million tons.
In Italy, pesticide residues were detected in 67% of surface waters and in 33.3% of those groundwater, 259 substances were detected in Italian waters, superficial and deep, 55 in a single sample.
The WHO estimates 200,000 cases of deaths a year caused by organophosphorus pesticides , an average citizen has in body from 300 to 500 more chemicals than fifty years ago . Also high the number of deaths worldwide ( 40 million deaths per year of which 15 million deaths under the age of 70 ) is increasing ( 55% ), as well as myeloid leukemias in the offspring for pesticide exposure during the pregnancy. If we then broaden our gaze to the state of biodiversity, to the biological, to the cost of fertilizers, we discover that the industrial food system dominates over 75% of the world’s arable land , that 75% of the plant genetic diversity has disappeared in just 100 years , that polyphenols and pesticide residues and heavy metals (cadmium) are also found near water sources . But the most surprising fact on which to leverage is that small farmers provide 70% of the food worldwide while having only 25% of the arable land available . Finally, to consider that synthetic fertilizers cause environmental damage estimated at 375 billion dollars .
According to Patrizia Gentilini, Oncologist and haematologist, member of the Scientific Committee of the Association Doctors for the Environment, ” in the scientific medical culture the perception of the link between illness and the environment is still missing . Starting from university education, where the message that passes is that the problem is the lifestyle. Nobody says we should not consume foods that have pesticide residues . Even the law does not protect human health “ . And the Regional Council of Tuscany with a resolution recently authorized 28 pesticides, including glyphosate, chlorpyrifos, forgotten in the areas of protection, or near to points of withdrawal of drinking water from deep water tables .
“Pesticides can be endocrine disruptors and represent a danger especially for children” – is the alarm launched by Sergio Bernasconi , Professor of pediatrics, former director of the Pediatric Clinic, University of Parma. It is estimated that in the United States alone there are at least 3941 types of food additives, but the toxicology of only 6.7% of them has been studied. And even in Europe it is late. What alternative proposals does the Manifesto indicate? ” It is proven” – answers Salvatore Ceccarelli , international expert in agronomy, specialist in agricultural genetics- ” that biodiversity-rich agriculture is essential for proper nutrition and good health , since the health of our intestinal microbiota is one of the foundations of our well-being, depends on the biodiversity of the bacteria that compose it, which in turn depend on our diet. Agriculture tends to be increasingly uniform and standardized . Of the 1,000 original crops, about 30 are cultivated and marketed today. All the laws that regulate the seeds go in the direction of uniformity to protect the industry and in this field too a paradigm shift is needed “.
A paragraph the Manifesto dedicates it to ‘ pizza ‘, our national pride, which however risks to the excessive use of grains coming from Canada. The scholars who participated in the drafting of the Manifesto draw to our attention other aspects including the role of organic food, such as Lucio Cavazzoni, former president of Alce Nero ( “We must fight for a live food, we must bring life back into the earth and in food, a project of transformation is necessary, we must make the growth of a movement of “pilgrim citizens” possible and of Nadia El Hage , International expert in food ecology, who criticizes the biological agriculture of being an élite, so he answers: ” But how much does conventional farming cost us? The cheap food we find in supermarkets actually costs three times as much in terms of health and environmental costs and we have already paid for it. For example, do we know that 8% of the loss of IQ in Europe is due to pesticides? “
At the end of this quick look at the Manifesto, what prospects are we facing? Vandana Shiva replies: ” The recent ruling in California that recognized Monsanto’s Roundup as the cause of the cancer of a school custodian who had used it for a long time is certainly a sign that something is changing . Now La Bayer, which has acquired Monsanto, will have to face another 8000 similar cases. It could be the end of the poison sign. But we can not wait for the American courts, we must make the decision to make our food free from poisons “.
“Every day” – according to Vandana Shiva – “ each of us can make the right decisions through what we put on our plates . We can choose live, real and real food. The industrial food system, the poison cartel and the organized large-scale cartel propaganda its system through a false science and often in the pay of the industry , has distorted the meaning of trade through the so-called free trade treaties, which free it is not because it prevents us from choosing. With our daily choices we can make false science, false trade and false rules for food security irrelevant. We are facing an uncertain future and it is necessary to start from the vitality of food , from small businesses and economies , from food resistance as a bridge between producers and conscious consumers . In addition to fighting for biodiversity, we are also struggling with bibliodiversity , which is more independent of information “.
From the farm ‘ Navdanya Biodiversity Conservation Farm ‘, founded in 1995 in Dehradun in India, where the methods of organic farming and agroecology are put into practice and from the University of the Earth, an educational center located on the farm itself, which hosts farmers and students from all over the world, Vandana Shiva has become International, in order to support its international mission. Starting right from Italy.