Dr. Barbara Gemmill-Herren is an agroecologist who lived and worked in Africa for over 25 years and is currently working as an agroecology consultant for the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). She is a chapter author of the new Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Agriculture and Food (TEEBAgriFood) report focused on evaluating our agriculture and food systems while considering a range of social, human, and environmental dimensions across the value chain.
Dr. Gemmill-Herrin served as the Delivery Manager for the Major Area of Work on Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). She implemented a global Pollination Services project for the FAO and worked on the FAO’s Ecosystem Services in Agriculture production. Gemmill-Herrin was a key contributor to the “Beacons of Hope” initiative for the Global Alliance for the Future of Food and served as the Director of the Environmental Liaison Centre International.
Food Tank talks to Dr. Barbara Gemmill-Herren about her chapter in the new TEEBAgriFood report about today’s realities, and tomorrow’s challenges in the eco-agri-food system.
It is hardly surprising that the first thing Bayer did after completing their takeover of Monsanto earlier this month was to announce that they were dropping the Monsanto name, merging the two companies’ agrichemical divisions under the Bayer Crop Science name. After all, as everyone knows, Monsanto is one of the most hated corporations in the world. But Bayer itself has an equally atrocious history of death and destruction. Together they are a match made in hell.
As Canada has urbanized over the past couple generations, we’ve moved further away from food production — or any significant hands-on knowledge of it. One result of this: more than a quarter of Canadian children are overweight or obese.
The same is true at the global level. A recent World Health Organization study found a ten-fold global increase in obesity among children and adolescents over the past four decades.
Federal policymakers should take note of these grim statistic as they finalize Canada’s first national food policy that will aim, among other things, to increase access to nutritious (and affordable) food.
One way to address this growing problem is to make it easier for Canadians to grow their own food.
July 1976, the Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs:
“The simple fact is that our diets have changed radically within the last 50 years …,” McGovern said when the report was released. “These dietary changes represent as great a threat to public health as smoking. Too much fat, too much sugar or salt, can be and are linked directly to heart disease, cancer, obesity, and stroke, among other killer diseases. In all, six of the ten leading causes of death in the United States have been linked to our diet.
After eating with the Hadza for just three days, Spector — who already had very healthy/diverse gut flora for a civilized person — increased his microbe diversity by 20 percent, an astonishing improvement. Not surprisingly, his gut flora balance returned to what it was before when he returned home.