Brentwood parishes show solidarity with farmers around the world in the fight to keep their rights to their own seeds
This summer parishes across the diocese are calling on the World Bank to protect ‘seed sovereignty’ and promote the rights of small farmers around the world to use, exchange and access local seeds which they have used for generations.
Parishioners are being invited to join the latest phase of CAFOD’s Fix the Food system campaign which was supported last year by parishes in each of the 22 dioceses in England and Wales. This CAFOD initiative aims to re-think the current global food system and, as Pope Francis says, transform it for the benefit of people and planet.
Globally, just nine crops account for more than 65% of all crop production, which are traded and transported by a few big businesses.
This lack of crop diversity makes the current food system unfit to cope with the challenges brought about by the climate crisis and also makes it unsuitable for quickly adapting to disease and conflict.
To take one current example, the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine has had a huge effect on the price of key staples such as wheat and overall food prices.
Solidarity with small scale farmers
Although enough food is produced to feed everyone, around 800 million people go hungry each day and many of them are small scale-farmers who grow the world’s food.
This situation is intensified when small-scale farmers are unable to freely access a wide variety of local seeds which they have used for generations. Instead of saving, producing, and sharing their own seeds, they are often pushed towards buying a limited selection of commercial seeds produced by a few corporations.
This is not good for the climate nor for food security. It’s much better when small-scale farmers can build and freely access a diverse set of seeds. It increases local resilience.
Seeds are also a symbol of hope and transformation in the Catholic faith. This is why CAFOD is inviting parishioners across the country to support Salina, a small-scale farmer and seed saver in Bangladesh.
Salina has written a letter to the World Bank – an institution with a lot of influence in food policies – calling for the protection of the rights of small-scale farmers like herself to use their own varieties of seeds.
This summer, your parish has an opportunity to support Salina by adding your names to her letter. Find more about how your parish can support Salina at cafod.org.uk/food.