Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Path to Urban Hens: Right Perspective

Greetings wonderful people of Windsor and Essex, and indeed around the world.

So much can be made of the Great Urban Chicken Debate. Reality, if I/we'd never raised the issues when we were raising our chickens, there would have been none. That being said, this issue is greater than the political tail wagging, infantile press reports from columnists, alley humor from Councillors, and general radio noise and nonsense. This, at the core, is a food security issue.
"Food sovereignty" is a term originally coined by Via Campesina in a flyer at the World Food Summit +5 (Rome2002) to refer to a concept advocated by a number of farmers', peasants', and fishermen's organizations, namely the claimed "right of peoples to define their own food and agriculture," in contrast to having food largely subject to international market forces.
Peter Rosset, writing in Food First's Backgrounder, fall 2003, argues that "Food sovereignty goes beyond the concept of food security... [Food security] means that... [everyone] must have the certainty of having enough to eat each day[,] ... but says nothing about where that food comes from or how it is produced." The concept of food sovereignty includes support for smallholders and for collectively owned farms, fisheries, etc., rather than industrializing these sectors in a minimally regulated global economy.

"Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to define their own food and agriculture; to protect and regulate domestic agricultural production and trade in order to achieve sustainable development objectives; to determine the extent to which they want to be self reliant; to restrict the dumping of products in their markets, and; to provide local fisheries-based communities the priority in managing the use of and the rights to aquatic resources. Food sovereignty does not negate trade, but rather, it promotes the formulation of trade policies and practices that serve the rights of peoples to safe, healthy and ecologically sustainable production."

-"Statement on People's Food Sovereignty" by Via Campesina, et. al.
With that cleared up, on to Windsor, Ontario, Canada. You have to wonder what the real threat is. In my personal career, often the real issue in working with people boils down to personal opinions and control. I think this way so you can't have your way. So much for healthy intellectual or communal research. Sometimes theories abound regarding why mutually committed consensus and reporting will not be an option. Too much money, yet we'll spend 6 million trying to get our way with Greenlink. Human resources, yet we have a surplus of city workers now that garbage is contracted out and the highest unemployment rate in Canada. Hmmm. Seems like we're back to the opinion argument again.

Urban chicken lovers take good courage. Good people with good intentions will triumph in this city, if not today, we shall not disappear, we will not go away, despite being labeled by press and politicians as the 'usual suspects' in the activist field. We shall find our way.

History is a relay of revolutions.

In the meantime, write your Councillor and let them know how you feel. Contact your mayor and ask for a respectable decision for all, for decorum in council. Speak up to your neighbor, get to know them and talk about the real issues. And most of all, if you are so moved to, challenge the status quo. They don't speak for me.

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Please keep the Windsor urban chicken discussion going! We love to 'read your constructive comments.