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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Monday, April 1, 2013
Blog post by Chloe Wilson, Television-Radio '14, FLEFF Blogger, Ashland, Massachusetts
There have been tons of FLEFF events throughout the day but our first day of FLEFF is capping off with Dr. Phil McMichael's lecture "Food Sovereignty and the Global Hunger Games"! Can't make it? No worries! I'll be liveblogging the whole event for you! Read on for more about the event.
6:59 PM - HUGE crowd for "Global Hunger Games!" There's a great mix of people here from all different sorts of backgrounds.
7:05 PM - People are still filing. It's becoming a struggle to find seats!
7:06 PM - Dr. Phil McMichael is being introduced by a member of the Ithaca College faculty! Dr. McMichael's lecture is sponsored both by FLEFF and Ithaca College's Department of Promotion and Physical Education.
7:07 PM - Ithaca College Provost Marisa Kelly is officially welcoming us to the 16th FLEFF! She's discussing the theme of mobilities and how mobilities (and FLEFF!) is an interdisciplinary event.
7:09 PM - Marisa Kelly on FLEFF: "By engaging guests from our region and through the world... FLEFF promotes the exploration of interdisciplinary and internationalism."
7:13 PM - Dr. Phil McMichael is finally starting his lecture! I'm so excited.
7:15 PM - Dr. McMichael is using political cartoons to explain the problems of food sovereignty. Dr. McMichael: "The people who have purchaisng power are the people who can command the types of crops to be produced."
7:18 PM - Food fact: Livestock uses 1/3 of the world's land surface and 1/3 or arable land. Animal protein diet uses 16 times more farmland than plant protein diet. (I didn't expect those stats to be so high!)
7:20 PM - The large amount of livestock also reduces forests - especially the Amazon Rainforest. Mangrove Forest was destroyed so companies could harvest aquaculture.
7:22 PM - This problem extends to the global fuel economy as well - especially since corn demand from U.S. ethanol distilleries doubled from 2006 to 2007. The use of politcal cartoons is really helpful!
7:26 PM - Dr. McMichael: "Half of all Guatemala's children under five are malnourished - one of the highest rates of nutrition in the world."
7:28 PM - Dr. McMichael: "What's being left out of the equation is that these lands are used for growing crops when they could be used for growing food to feed the world."
7:32 PM - There's a "new land grab" process that shows that 37% of land is grabbed for food, while 35% is for biofuels.
7:34 PM - States and corporations reclassify peasant/common land as "unproductive," "unused," or "idle" so it's available for purchase.
7:36 PM - Consequences of land-grabbing: displacement of food crops, disposession of producers, a threat to the natural ecosystems, and many, many more.
7:39 PM - Much of this stems from the neoliberal agrarian crisis.
7:41 PM - Food sovereignty (idea that countries should have the right to determine their own food policy) is a product of the agrarian crisis. Quote from U.S. representative: "The idea that developing countries should feed themselves in an anachronism from a bygone era. They could better ensure their food security by relying on US agriculture."
7:45 PM - "The massive movement of food around the world is forcing the increased movement of people."
7:46 PM - Food sovereignty represents a paradigm change in how food can and should be provisioned. It redefines food security from a trade and rights-based concept and practice.
7:50 PM - BOTTOM LINE: The question "for whose benefit?" is at least as important as the question "how to produce more?"
7:52 PM - And that's the end of the lecture! Dr. McMichael will now take audience questions.
7:54 PM - Great questions about subsidies from the front row!
7:55 PM - Dr. McMichael: "We need to change the way we view subsidies in America. Hopefully we see them shift in the future."
7:58 PM - Another great question about the development of third world countries' agriculture and their economic structures. How can we help?
8:00 PM - This is turning into a really interesting (and educational debate).
8:03 PM - A question about movements against land that can't be used for food. Very interesting! It's great that so many students who are familiar with the topic came to the lecture tonight!
8:09 PM - Dr. McMichael: "There's something to be said for communities bringing local products into their economy, but it's a complicated issue - I'm sorry to be so gloomy!"
8:11 PM - An audience member asks Dr. McMichael about the connections between local food crises (like in Upstate New York), food banks, and how to understand it.
8:12 PM - Dr. McMichael: "I think beginning to connect the dots becomes a very powerful way to learn about how the system is organized. Recognizing how the food system is organized - even on a local level - is incredibly important... my task within that is to organize with several people at Cornell."
8:15 PM - The lecture officially ends! Definitely a great lesson and discussion afterwards - everything that FLEFF is about!
Did you have a favorite moment of the lecture? Tell us about it in the comments!