เครือข่ายเกษตรกรรมทางเลือกภาคอีสาน

Bennett Haynes Speaks at TEDx Krungthep

In Network Events on 11/09/2010 at 10:53 am

Last weekend Bennett Haynes represented the Alternative Agriculture Network at the TEDx event in Bangkok. TEDx are independently organized TED events that focus on sharing and exploring ideas in the pursuit of knowledge, imagination, and innovation. Some of the topics covered at the event included sustainable and impact focused philanthropy in Honduras (Shin Fujiyama), improving Thai communities through solidarity (Bang Bua Network), and the destruction of natural beauty with the rise of modernization and industrialization (Roseanne Trottier). The event helped increase awareness about issues in Thailand and internationally, but more notably it showcased the innovative ideas and techniques that the speakers and their affiliated organizations initiated to address societal problems.

Bennett Haynes spoke about the work of the AAN in Thailand, which strives to establish an alternative food system based on natural processes and local knowledge. He explained that many of the problems facing farmers and consumers in Thailand are remnants of the legacy left be the Green Revolution. The goal of the Green Revolution was to increase food supplies by increasing crop yields using high-yield seed varieties and chemical pesticides and fertilizers. However, rather than ending world hunger, the Green Revolution trapped farmers in a perpetual cycle of debt because they have to continually buy expensive crop inputs. Furthermore, constant exposure to chemical pesticides and fertilizers increases health problems among farmers, such as cancer and respiratory diseases, and contributes to environmental degradation.

Problems associated with the Green Revolution also extend to consumers. Their health is at risk when they eat foods grown using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and preservatives; some of which have been banned in the United States and Europe, but not in Thailand. In response to these problems, Bennett explained, the AAN is working to educate farmers and consumers about the problems associated with producing foods with chemical inputs, and to transition farmers to organic farming methods.

The AAN, Bennett continued, consists mainly of small farms (1-10 acres) that produce a wide variety of products. As a result, if one of their crops fails they have others to rely on. Furthermore, they plant products that are appropriate given the land, climate, and season, decreasing the need for external inputs. The AAN also works with consumers and youth to educate them about the importance of knowing where their food comes from and how it is produced. To provide consumers with safe and healthy food options they have established a number of organic markets in Esan, one of which, Talad See Keow Kudchum, is scheduled to open for the first time Monday, Sept. 13th.

While Bennett highlighted the work of the AAN in his speech, the main message he had for his audience was: Get to know your food and your farmer. In other words, take ownership in knowing where your food comes from, how it is produced, and who produces it. In the spirit of that message, ‘Do you know where the food you ate today came from?’

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: