Hi Everyone

This is a quick post Kitchencounterculture felt important to write. There’s extremely little public debate about TTIP, a trade deal between the USA and the EU. It’s very anti-democratic with quite worrisome implications. I feel I only know about it because of the “Echo Chamber” of my own information gathering / receiving on the internet.  Maybe some of you reading this occupy a different Echo Chamber,  and will catch wind of this through this piece here, because we believe in democracy and open speech and people to people communication.

Many of you won’t be in Britain, but there’s the spectre, or actuality, of similar trade agreements in your countries too.

Here is the World Development Movement briefing on lots of the issues involved with the TTIP.

Because I’m a food blogger, I wanted to highlight the food issues we care about that are implicated by TTIP.

Friends of the Earth Europe have written an informative briefing. 

–Also here is a statement on Food Issues and the TTIP by the Land Workers Alliance.

There are several major implications to what TTIP would bring regarding food — summed up from the careful sources above. It’s a regime that seeks to strengthen the current power of large Agribusiness (at the expense of small and smaller producers).  We understand this system as one that does not meet the needs of health, nutrition, workers, ecology and climate concerns.  TTIP makes things worse, not better, and stymies our hard work.

–For one, TTIP seeks the equivalence of US and UK standards which brings down many European standards in aspects of quality and food safety, as consumers define it, including issues of genetic modification, hormone use and antibiotics. The agreement would seek to bypass EU GMO rules, even down to the level of labelling.  There would be relaxed rules regarding pesticides, animal welfare, and  food and feed additives.

–There are also existing tariffs that protect European farmers against the Goliath US producers.  If these are compromised, there’s a pressure towards increasingly standardised, intensive production methods.  Small farmers cannot be ensured a livelihood in these conditions.

We must encourage the resilence of local systems rather than degrade them further!  This is one of the basic differences between a vision of “food security” vs one of “food sovereignty.:

–If there’s a democratic upsurge against problems that emerge, businesses can take states to court.  This is a true  violation of the most basic values of democracy, that your voice, my voice, her voice, matters.

–There are even regulations about government procurement such that local foods initiatives are handicapped.  If you want your community garden to supply salad leaves to your local school, well, you might be forbidden to do this.  The US  are negotiating against “increasing use of localisation measures [which they see as] barriers to trade.  Not good.

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There’s a#NoTTIP  day of action coming up on the 12th of July if you are able to join or create an event that educates people and widens democratic knowledge about trade deals negotiated without meaningful contributions by — what’s the word —  STAKEHOLDERS, meaning all of us who eat and care about the future of food and the people and communities who grow it.

Share these issues with people who care, in conversation and social media. Contact your politicians, talk to them!  Let’s make noise into the silence.

And let’s see how far this #NoTTIP hashtag can go.

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