Healthy Eating

Brazil: Science, religion, and politics come together for agrarian reform at MST Fair

National Agrarian Reform Fair held the debate ‘Healthy eating is everyone’s right'

‘Healthy eating is everyone’s right’ discussion panel took place at the 3rd National Agrarian Reform Fair / Rafael Stedile

The ‘Healthy Eating Is Everyone’s Right’ discussion panel was held this Saturday morning (5) at the 3rd National Agrarian Reform Fair in São Paulo, Brazil, and brought together scientific knowledge, religious faith, and political mobilization in defense of the agroecological movement.

During the panel, nutritionist Patrícia Jaime said that health statistics show the main causes of disease and death around the world are food-related. The panelist said “healthy eating is about having access to food, but also about the quality of that food. Not only that, it’s also about the right to land, which is crucial.”

Jaime also took the opportunity at the debate to recommend something to everyone who attended it: “What I recommend is: let’s cook! The further away we get from the kitchen, the closer we get to processed food, which is a diet based on monoculture, massive use of agrochemicals, income inequality, and concentration of land ownership,” she said.

The nutritionist also pointed out that taking on the responsibility for making your own food is not just an important initiative to take care of your health, but also a political statement. “Our everyday choices, when we choose between packaged food or cooking fresh food, are a determining factor for the Brazilian food system,” she said.

Another panelist, the bishop of the Church of England Dom Maurício Andrade, highlighted the close relationship between food and religion. “When we talk about food and religion, the two have a really close connection, because food is part of religion. Have you ever seen a church festival with no food? Absolutely not. People say that we come together to pray and eat. Someone once asked me: ‘What are you going to do there [at a church festival]? Eat or cook?’ And I said: ‘I’m going to eat, I’m going to cook, and share the joy of bringing an understanding that food is part of our conversation as the Church, because we are engaged and we are together in communion at the table.”

“It’s not that there isn’t enough food in this world. It’s this evil thing called inequality. Healthy eating is a right for everyone,” the bishop said.

One of the leaders of the Landless Workers’ Movement (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra – MST), João Pedro Stedile, once again pointed out the movement’s commitment to keep pushing the debate on healthy eating as a right.

“It’s a duty of the Agrarian Reform Fair, which is here offering healthy products from all over the country, to also use these spaces to keep raising awareness. That means spreading knowledge so that people who live in the city can understand that if they keep eating products with agrochemicals produced by agribusiness, they are going to pay a high price, they will get sick. And we have to protect our lives and healthy food.”

Edition: Diego Sartorato | Translated by: Aline Scátola