The French radical farmers union Confederation Paysanne, with its charismatic leader Jose Bove, has led the world in demonstrating the possibility of a socially progressive future for farming. Rejecting the increasing intensification and industrialisation of agriculture, the Confederation has argued for the need for local food production by small, independent farmers - both for the sake of the quality of the food we consume and to support the kind of societies we want to live in. Originally published in French, Food for Thought has been expanded and adapted for an English-speaking audience. Patrick Herman and Richard Kuper demonstrate how the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy and now the WTO's Agreement on Agriculture are both designed to encourage an increasingly free-market, profit-maximising, destructive agriculture. The majority of farmers have lost out and continue to lose. Agribusiness thrives at their expense. The consequences are dire in terms of social and environmental costs in the industrialised world, and devastating for developing countries, whose ability to feed themselves is being destroyed along with a massive proportion of their small farmers.
There are alternatives: to outlaw dumping of food on world markets effectively, to control the amounts of food produced, to share its production fairly among regions and countries, to encourage rather than to outlaw the use of import controls. There are farmers and other radical organisations struggling in support of these aims worldwide. They are at the forefront of the struggle against free market globalisation. They hold out the possibility of a radical, human-centred way of producing our food and organising our society.
Patrick Herman, a long-time member of the Confederation Paysanne and a full-time farmer, is a trade-union activist in the department of the Aveyron. He was responsible for editing the original French edition of this book. Richard Kuper has been a publisher, university lecturer and trade-union and political activist. He spent much of the last four years farming in France in the department of the Drome where he was a member of the Confederation. He is now politically active back in Britain.
List of boxes List of abbreviations Translator's note Foreword by Jose Bove Introduction 1 The industrialisation of farming 1962: the birth of productivism Exporting and free trade From stockpiling to commercial war The logic of free trade Europe's export vocation 2 Reforming the CAP 1992: the topsy-turvy CAP The Marrakech shambles 1999: From Berlin to Seattle Headlong to disaster! 3 French agricultural trade unionism: the long march of the Confederation Paysanne The FNSEA (the National Federation of Farmers' Unions) The rumblings of opposition The birth of the Confederation 4 Major principles for changing international policies An overview of the 'givens' Reaffirm food sovereignty Make dumping illegal 5 Fateful choice for the CAP A false opposition Towards a reform of the CAP in 2003 A real revolution 6 Towards a solidaristic citizens' and farmers' CAP End the supposed export vocation of the EU Supply management A policy founded on equitable prices A de-intensified agriculture A genuine policy of rural development Giving answers to farmers while awaiting CAP reform 7 Conclusion Appendix 1: l'Agriculture paysanne: a charter for small farming Appendix 2: Campaign for an immediate change in the direction of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Appendix 3: Resources Appendix 4: The 2003 reform of the CAP Notes Index