Imagine that the land your family has worked for generations is suddenly stripped away from you, purchased by wealthy companies or governments to produce food or bio-fuels or simply as a profitable investment for other people, often far away. You watch on helplessly as vast tracts of land are cleared for monoculture crops and rivers are polluted with run-off and chemicals.
Unfortunately, this is happening all around the world – in particular in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Oceania and Eastern Europe – and most of the time it is legal.
The term ‘land grabbing’ is used to describe the purchase or lease of large tracts of fertile land by public or private entities, a phenomenon that rose significantly following the 2007-2008 world food economic crisis. Today land grabbing involves millions of hectares, equivalent to an area as big as Spain, and it continues to spread relentlessly.
Transferring large parcels of agricultural land away from local communities threatens food sovereignty and their very existence. It also jeopardizes the environment and biodiversity by favoring intensive monoculture farming reliant on fertilizers and pesticides.
In 2010 Slow Food launched a global campaign to stop land grabbing…
In addition to an international awareness campaign, Slow Food works with communities whose land is often in the spotlight of the speculative interest of the new colonialists, such as the Presidia producers and the Gardens in Africa communities. These projects assert the right to food sovereignty and to a good, clean and fair food for everyone by focusing on developing sustainable agriculture and safeguarding food production knowledge.