About Pedal and Plow

Pedal and Plow is a documentary web series following Lydia Caudill, Creator and host of Pn’P, as she rides her bike from Paraguay all the way home to Washington state. Along the way she’ll be documenting sustainable alternatives to industrial agricultural from those on the front lines of food justice in Latin America. She’ll interview farmers and organizations all striving to maintain their personal and community right to determine their diet and way of life in the face of a rapidly industrializing food system. The solutions will be local, but we hope for our scope to be far reaching. Lydia believes that sharing these ideas can inform and empower everyone connected to their food throughout the world. We invite you to join her on this epic trip! Check out the most recent episodes, or learn more from Lydia on her blog. 
Food is the most basic of human necessities, but people’s access and control over their food has changed dramatically over the past 60 years, increasing social instability, hunger and environmental degradation. Food is our strongest connection to the natural environment, as well as to each other in our food traditions and customs.  At the same time, people’s connection to the food system has never been so detached.  Pedal and Plow hopes to bridge that gap. We will bring to light the alternatives to industrial agriculture by seeking out and highlighting examples of successful food sovereignty. For more information on food sovereignty and its impact on people and the environment please visit our Mission page.

What happens if we Democratize food? Put people, the producers and the consumers and their communities, at the center of our food systems? What would that look like, and how would that be a better alternative to what we have now?

There is a global push for farmers to become more competitive by increasing production without regard to environment or community.With this limited perspective comes limited options. Often farmers feel they only have two choices: Get big or Sell out. However, industrial agriculture is not the only solution.  Industrial agriculture has negative impacts with human costs (loss of diversity of jobs, disappearance of rural communities, pollution of living and working space) and ecological costs (loss of biodiversity, water quality impacts)

Despite a bleek outlook, there are alternatives!  Farmers and organizations in Latin America are redefining their food systems, and the purpose of this bike trip is to explore and share their solutions used.

I will connect with farmers and organizations that are exploring and experimenting with democratizing and diversifying their personal and community agriculture systems. 

The questions I’m exploring on this journey:

How are Latin American farmers succeeding on family farms?

What alternatives have they found to industrial agriculture?

Answers I want to explore include, what happens when:

 women are empowered to make agricultural decisions.

individuals realize the power of working cooperatively.

sustainable agriculture and agro-ecology is practiced with the land.

These topics I am most interested in exploring, but I am open to learning and documenting how anyone or any group has incorporated food sovereignty into their lives and communities.

The term “food sovereignty” was first coined in 2006 by Via Campesina, a coalition which coordinates peasant organizations from Asia, Africa, America and Europe advocating family-farm-based sustainable agriculture.  Combining several definitions, food sovereignty is the right of peoples and sovereign states to democratically determine their own food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries systems and policies.

It is with this philosophy in mind we search for alternatives.

6 Principles of Food Sovereignty

Focuses on food for people
The right to food which is healthy and culturally appropriate is the basic legal demand underpinning food sovereignty. Food is not simply another commodity to be traded or speculated on for profit.
Values food providers
Food sovereignty asserts food providers’ right to live and work in dignity. Many smallholder farmers suffer violence and marginalisation from corporate landowners and governments and agricultural workers can experiance severe exploitation.  And although women produce most of the food in the Global South, their role and knowledge are often ignored, and their rights to resources and as workers are violated.
Localizes food systems
Food must be seen primarily as sustenance for the community and only secondarily as something to be traded. Under food sovereignty, local and regional provision takes precedence over supplying distant markets.
Puts control locally
 Food sovereignty places control over territory, land, grazing, water, seeds, livestock and fish populations under local food providers and respects their rights. They can use and share them in socially and environmentally sustainable ways which conserve diversity. Privatization of such resources, for example through intellectual property rights regimes or commercial contracts, is explicitly rejected.
Builds knowledge and skills
Food sovereignty calls for appropriate research systems to support the development of agricultural knowledge that is already used and supplement with new skills and appropriate technologies.  Technologies and the policies that accompany them, such as genetic engineering, are not prioritized as they undermine food providers’ ability to develop and pass on knowledge and skills needed for localized food systems.
Works with nature
Food sovereignty requires production and distribution systems that protect natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, avoiding energy-intensive industrial methods that damage the environment and the health of those who inhabit it.

 

 

2 comments

  • Hi Lydia! I am so happy for you! This is a great project and I love the whole vision of this adventure. I just want to share with you this paper and video:
    http://www.trabal.org/ad_ict4d_reader/shivamono1993.pdf
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ER5ZZk5atlE
    You probably already know Vandana Shiva. I think she is one of the most lucid person when talking about food sovereignty, gender issues, ecology, food policy and so on. I love her! I hope you will also explore the diversity of food during your trip. Not only the alternatives about agriculture systems but also identifying what food is native and which one is foreign in each community you will be visiting. What people think about it? Are people aware about potential advantages/disadvantages of changing traditional diet? Are there crops disapearing becouse not being use any more? are there food recipes changing/disapearing? And probably other questions that can arise in this exiting journey! We definetly are going to be in touch during your trip! Abrazos, Homi

    Reply
    • hey thanks!
      Of course I love Vandana Shiva! Her words are inspiring and powerful. And thank you so much for your support, its helped me along the whole way through. Those are equally good questions to keep in mind as I move forward- bringing attention to the changes they’ve seen in their lifetimes to identify the advantages and disadvantages of everything. You should talk to Diane about the malnutrition she saw in Bolivia when white rice started taking over quinoa. You know I’ve harassed you with questions the last two years and it won’t stop for the two years to come! And if you want to meet up and explore ag on a part of this trip- te invito! : ) L

      Reply

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