The above extract comes from a document called the “Final Declaration” issued by the International Forum for Agroecology at the end of its conference in Mali earlier this year.
The full statement can be accessed here.
Agroecology is an approach to farming which aims to secure productivity, stability and sustainability whilst optimising the use of local resources and minimising negative environmental and socioeconomic impacts. It is not the same as organic farming, but the two do have some fundamental principles in common.
The Mali International Forum brought together many organisations, groups and individuals from across the world, all campaigning for a more sane approach to growing, harvesting, transporting, buying, packaging and consuming the food upon which each of us ultimately depends.
If these diverse campaign groups could be said to have a unifying underpinning aim then it would be to wrest control of the food economy from profit-motivated and environmentally-indifferent corporations. Until that happens, all of those warning signs flagged up by the Mali International Forum will continue to worsen and to multiply.
As for the rest of us, we seriously underestimate our power. At an individual and collective level we make a difference through the food choices we make. Each time we purchase and microwave a “ready meal” we are encouraging the manufacturer to continue to make more of the same.
Similarly, each time we decide to buy local, organic produce we are encouraging (and keeping in business) those local, organic producers.
It takes more thought, and often more time, to source good quality local organic food, but the agroecologists would certainly approve.
This week I harvested my first potatoes of the year, a variety called International Kidney. It is a maincrop potato, but can be harvested early as a new potato. Many in the UK would know it by the more familiar name of Jersey Royal. They are exactly the same potato, except that only those grown in Jersey can call themselves Jersey Royals, having been granted EU Protected Designation of Origin.
It is a delicious tasting potato, perfect when boiled and served with a little mint and butter, but my family has come to really enjoy these roasted crushed new potatoes, even more than the conventional roast potatoes we will be enjoying when my maincrop potatoes are harvested in the autumn.
roasted crushed new potatoes
20 organic new potatoes
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp mixed fresh herbs (I used parsley and mint)
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1. Wash or scrub the potatoes and place in a large pan. Cover with cold water and place over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for until the potatoes are still firm but just cooked (check with a skewer or sharp, thin knife). This should take 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes.
2. Drain the potatoes and rinse under cold water. Set to one side for a few minutes to cool.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6).
4. When the potatoes have cooled sufficiently, place them on a flat surface or board. Place the heel of your hand over each potato and press down with gentle but firm pressure until you feel it “give”. When you lift your palm, the potato will have a crushed appearance but will still be just about in one piece, which is exactly what we want. Do this with all of the potatoes then place them in a roasting tin, drizzle with the olive oil and place in the pre-heated oven for 45-50 minutes, turning the potatoes over half way through the cooking time, until they are browned and crispy.
5. Briefly drain the potatoes on kitchen paper. Scattered with the salt and the chopped herbs and spring onions and serve. http://circusgardener.com