New Ways Forward for Farming
Laila Kassam has been involved in social change for most of her career. She has worked in the international development sector since 2003, conducting research on poverty and food security for rural development projects in the Global South. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals and by international organisations including the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO). Laila has an MSc in Development Management from the London School of Economics and a PhD in Development Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She is a co-founder of the Veterinary Vegan Network, Ethical Globe and Animal Think Tank. She co-edited the anthology, “Rethinking Food & Agriculture: New Ways Forward,” which features a number of well-known writers and activists including Rupert Sheldrake and Vandana Shiva. The volume contains three articles co-written by Laila, and discussing these was the bulk of our conversation.
We talked about the role of animal domestication in the neolithic revolution; the concept of “misothery;” the so-called “green revolution” in 20th Century agriculture; alternative paradigms including conservation agriculture, organic agriculture, agroecology, and regenerative agriculture; how the question of either chemicals or animal inputs is a false choice; and the myth of food scarcity. We spent the last third of the interview talking about solutions: how we can make agriculture sustainable and just, which involves not just farming methods but also systemic economic and social changes.
Excerpts from the book: inclusiveresponsibility.earth
Episode introduction music is “Cool Swing” by frankumjay