The need to reclaim traditional food and avoid health hazards posed by new food variants was stressed by Slow Food International vice-president, environmentalist and author Vandana Shiva at a food and agro-biodiversity festival held in India over the past five days. The second annual National Food & Agro-biodiversity Festival-ANNAM was organized to help raise awareness on the deterioration in human health due to new dietary habits and reinforce the link between health, food and agriculture.
In her keynote address during the opening ceremony, Shiva stated that technology should be used to preserve the diversity of indigenous food varieties and not to mindlessly mass-produce a homogenized food breed. “Technology, which is meant for the protection of human beings, is now being used to destroy them,” she said, elaborating that genetically modified crops contain harmful elements that could put future generations at risk of complex diseases.
Pointing the finger at corporate and multinational giants, Shiva warned of the disasters that happen when people chase profit at the cost of other consequences. According to Shiva, these firms are thrusting junk food habits on people, and the increasing affinity towards fast food culture is part of their deliberate efforts in pursuit of capturing the food processing sector, spoiling India’s biodiversity.
The nutrition value of high-tech food products available in the market is very low, she emphasized, and the “toxic and pesticide-laced” food marketed in India would spoil the health of future generations. Shiva concluded that only organic food could provide adequate nutrition, and proposed the establishment of food processing units in rural areas to safeguard India’s rich biodiversity in the interest of disease-free society for future generations.
The five-day festival was organized by ANNAM, also known as ‘Good Food Movement’ – a joint initiative by the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action, Navdanya India, Slow Food and several other organizations.
For more information: ANNAM
Source: The Hindu