Is Access to Land a Human Right?
Fantastic piece by Antonio Roman-Alcalá over at Civil Eats today. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about access to land and it’s implications on our food system. As we watch the trend of home (food) gardening grow, questions arise not only about how to do it, since recent generations have lost the tradition of passing down that art, but WHERE to do it. A record percentage (over half) of the global population lives in cities. So it follows, that for the first time in human history, more than half the human population has extremely limited options when it comes to feeding themselves. The local food movement is surely drawing attention to this issue, but as local food gains importance, supply will surely become an issue. This is where access to land becomes a key component of our food future. Finding suitable ground is one of the biggest barriers to entering the farming profession. Not only is the good stuff too expensive to purchase, leasing is risky. Maybe the ground has had chemicals sprayed on it. Maybe you’ll be able to work it for one or two years, only to lose your lease, thereby losing the precious investment you’ve made building the soil.
But why are we still in a situation where the rich get to decide the best uses for land, while hard working, intelligent, compassionate, humble workers just do what we’re told?
The “Slow Money” principles (obviously drawing it’s name from the Slow Food movement) is attempting to address this issue. It feels like it’s in infancy stage, but there could be some excited ideas here. I’m personally convinced there is something to banding people together to buy back farmland for our collective good. Maybe collective purchase of land is our next step together in taking back our food system.