In taking care of the soil, we reclaim our humanity. Our future is inseparable from the future of the earth. It is no accident that the word “human” has its roots in humus which is the Latin word for living soil. And Adam, the first human in Abrahamic traditions, is derived from Adamus, soil in Hebrew.
An agriculture exclusively focussed on selling agrochemicals as external inputs for commodity production has reduced the measure of productivity of agriculture to a reductionist category of “Yield per Acre”. But Yield per acre leaves out the most important aspects of food and farming. Yield measures mass, the quantity of a commodity, not the nourishing quality of food. Hence it is inadequate as a measure of food in the context of health. Nor does “yield” measure the destruction of biodiversity that provides nourishment and health. “Yield” does not measure the high financial costs of toxic inputs which are trapping farmers in debt and pushing them to suicide. Nor does it measure the cost of the disease burden due to toxics in our food. Finally, yield per acre does not measure the ecological cost of chemical monocultures.
The Hunger and Health emergency calls on citizens and governments of overcome the separations between humans and nature, between agriculture, food, nutrition and health and see the interconnectedness. Interconnectedness calls for Integration. Biodiversity and Integrity of our food needs to be at the centre of public health policies. Agriculture and food systems need to be viewed as health systems which maintain and sustain a healthy planet and healthy society. We need to reward farmers for growing healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy communities, instead of subsidizing them to use fossil fuels, chemicals and poisons which contribute to climate change, water pollution and depletion, and disease. Given how severe the hunger, malnutrition and health crisis is in India, we need to make a transition from a chemical system of producing nutritionally empty commodities to a nutrition sensitive agriculture which increases “health per acre” and “nutrition per acre”. We need to redefine the PDS system and ICDS system as a public health system based on One Health. And we need public awareness campaigns that cultivate the One Health approach among citizens.Sowing Seeds of Freedom from Hunger, Malnutrition and Disease – Navdanya international