Sustainability is one of the first things you learn in your Intro to Demography courses. Too many people can spread resources thin. As we are aware, our sustainability efforts in food are wreaking havoc on workers’ rights and hurting the environment.
Trade liberalization, political upheaval, population displacements, and environmental change have all played a role in shaping the food system in the region. Traditionally, the Latin American agricultural sector has grown by focusing on exports at the expense of producing fresh food for local communities. So even after a decade of economic growth, undernutrition overlaps (sometimes in the same population) with diets high in fat, sugar, and over-processed foods. In addition to these negative health outcomes, industrial agriculture produces enormous amounts of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
There is an emerging global food movement that is reimaging how we can grow and distribute food in a more sustainable and fair way. In Latin America, social movements made up of farmers, agricultural workers, consumers, environmental groups, indigenous communities, and other experts have been pushing for greater food self-sufficiency, agro-ecological production and equitable nutrition policies.
Interested yet? Well, good thing there’s a conference being held on this! From February 22-24, LILAS will be hosting this conference at the Texas Union. This conference will address the opportunities and obstacles to transforming the current food system in Latin America and what the rest of the world can learn from it. This event will bring together many innovative activists, researchers, and artists. The fields represented in the conference will be anthropology, ecology, geography, public health, law, history, sociology, political science, and film. Topics include agroecology and alternative farming styles; rights-oriented food movements; the land, work, and market struggles surrounding industrial agriculture; and nutrition and public health approaches to food policies.
Please refer to the website for more information, and to see their program of panelists.