According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (UNFAO), over the course of the 20th century, 75% of the world’s plant genetic diversity was lost, as local varieties and land races have been replaced with genetically uniform seed. A similar process in animal husbandry has put 53% of all livestock breeds at risk of extinction. At the turn of the 21st century, 12 plant and five animal species generated three quarters of the world’s food.

This is no accident, but the result of a very particular system of food production that demands uniformity and yield, over diversity and nutrition and where vast monocultures can be grown, harvested, processed and then ‘freely’ traded over thousands of miles. It is a system that, by some estimates, contributes up to 57% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is also a system that, particularly in the USA and European Union, is propped up by a vast subsidy system.