BSC2009 – Food Security – Herb Barbolet

Herb, who I first heard at the Future of Foods for the Kootenays Conference in Nelson in the Fall of 2007 ditched the PowerPoint and went with an interactive format “presentation” to a standing room only crowd. Coming from the states just as the Agricultural Land Reserve legislation was coming into effect, (mid 70’s).  The mid 70’s were a hothouse of innovation in habitat, patterns of settlement, energy conservation, then the eighties came along and all this work dropped right off. Herb was involved in co-operative housing and intentional communities around farmland in the lower mainland, as well as running a ten acre farm just out of Vancouver that was producing $100,000 an acre high value produce – from this grew Farm Folk – City Folk, which herb was involved with until about ten years ago.

Herb asks if anyone is feeling depressed after Claire’s previous presentation, when only a few put up their hands, he says, “good, because it is much worse than all of that”. Local food is at an absolute critical state – because of the industrialized state of the food system.

  • It is not organic vs conventional – for the history of the world it has only been organic
  • How dare Monsanto arrogantly assume that we need to be saved by their technology and GMO crops
  • Small farmers have to be registered and jump through so many hoops yet the “big” companies are above the law – they create the law.
  • Economic growth is seen as more important than food
    • California was the “breadbasket” only because of free water and cheap oil
    • Economic system is all backwards – not resilient, not working.
    • Based on corporate greed and false money
  • Peak Everything and Climate Chaos
  • We’ve got it all wrong, we’ll keep on driving, we’ll spend billions on health care, but won’t demand fresh, un-industrialized food.
    • Poor food goes to poor people – (food banks receiving donations from large business).
  • Citizens turned into Consumers – the issue is democracy.
  • We need to fight back,  fighting against Monsanto and Walmart, but ignoring than at the same time setting up our own food system.
    • Local economies based on local food systems.
  • It’s not the economy stupid – it’s community.
  • Need to educate about real economics, community and civil rights.
    • A movement needs people behind it, when it has people then the politicians will move to the movement.
  • Universal food rights – Cuba as an example
  • Herb always provides a light hearted look at the serious issues of food security and sustainable agriculture.

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