(Flagstaff, Ariz., Jan. 2009) A Northern Arizona University political science professor is working with Southern African farmers studying their agricultural expertise and exposing trade agreements that could threaten the world's food supply.
For more than 30 years, Carol Thompson has been consulting on international agriculture trade issues, spending months or years at a time living in Southern African countries studying agricultural expertise and working to "expose constraining trade agreements imposed upon African farmers."
Her recent book, Biopiracy of Biodiversity - Global Exchange as Enclosure, analyzes current international agricultural trade policies, explains how they originated, and how they are impacting the world and indigenous cultures.
"The future of the planet depends not so much on military power nor on capital speculation but on each one of us making daily food choices that affect global exchange or enclosure of biodiversityour collective nourishment, our wealth," Thompson explains.
Cowritten with Andrew Mushita, director of the Community Technology Development Trust in Zimbabwe, the book analyzes international policies for sustainable farming, the successes and failures of industrial agriculture, and the need to preserve biodiversity as a policy for future food security.
"Today only 12 plants provide 75 percent of the food in industrialized countries, making us all vulnerable," Thompson says. "Africans still rely on 2,000 plants for their food biodiversity."
The book tackles complex issues such as the World Trade Organization's patenting strategies that are "exploiting natural resources," she says.
"Biopiracy may be a new word, but the act is old," remarks Thompson, who often dresses in colorful African fabric dyed by some of the plants she is hoping will be protected. "Biopiracy is the taking of organisms, such as plants or seeds, from communities where they are shared by all
|Contact: Diane Rechel|
Northern Arizona University