Our values and principles provide a framework to help us build Food Sovereignty for the Black Mountain and Towy Valley region of east Carmarthenshire.
Food Sovereignty – food for people not just for profit:
The right to food which is healthy, culturally and regionally appropriate is the basic aim underpinning Food Sovereignty. Guaranteeing that requires diversified local food production in every region and respecting the fact that access to healthy food is necessary for our sense of security. We think everyone should have access to fresh, organic, food, free of chemicals and pesticides, so we aim to make buying good local food as accessible and straightforward as possible. Food is not simply another commodity to be traded or speculated on, it is a basic human need and equal access to the means to meet this need is fundamental for a healthy community.
Value food providers:
Many smallholder farmers are marginalised and people are often discouraged from the possibility of land based livelihoods by central government and agribusiness. Agricultural workers can face severe exploitation and blatantly unfair market conditions. Food sovereignty asserts the rights food providers to live and work in dignity. One of our main aims is to support small-scale growers and producers, and develop a platform that strengthens the local food economy as a whole.
Food must be seen primarily as sustenance for the community and only secondarily as something to be traded. Under food sovereignty, local and regional provision takes precedence over supplying distant markets, and export-orientated agriculture is rejected. Relocalising our food system is key for increasing economic resilience.
Put control locally:
We believe that control over local resources should be placed in the hands of those that use them to be used and shared in socially and environmentally sustainable ways which conserve diversity. Such resources should not be privatised but models of shared use and ownership should be developed from the ground up. This is the underlying principle of the Black Mountain Food Hub, a resource owned and controlled by the local community.
The Food Hub is designed to run as a multi-stakeholder co-operative, with opportunities for both producers and consumers to join as members of the co-operative and directly participate in the development of the Food Hub.
Our goal is collaboration. Finding ways for small scale producers to work together to create a market that benefits everyone, instead of trying to compete against each other and ultimately losing out to the bigger players.
Build knowledge and skills:
Technologies that undermine the ability of food providers to develop and pass on knowledge and skills needed for localised food systems are rejected. Instead, food sovereignty calls for appropriate technology, education and research systems to support the development of agricultural knowledge and skills.
Work with nature:
We require production and distribution systems that protect natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, avoiding energy-intensive industrial methods that damage the environment and the health of those that inhabit it.
Getting Organic certification can be difficult for small businesses or start-ups, as it entails a lengthy and costly process. This can represent a substantial barrier to entry for small businesses and start-ups.
With this in mind, we also accept “ecological” or “non-certified organic” goods: food grown with only natural inputs (compost, manure) and no chemical inputs (fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, etc.) using the Wholesome Food Association principles as a guideline. All our produce will be labelled appropriately so that consumers can see what is what and where it’s from.