I found an Erve de Jabuti growing out of a crack in the wall. Why can I not find it in the supermarket?
I search online and learn that Erve de Jabuti can be eaten raw or cooked and is also good to drink as a tea or juice. It eases stomach aches, relieves fatigue and can also be rubbed on the sores I have on my skin. For the Yoruba it is Ewé rinrin and in Guarany it is called Jatevurã.
I’ve read that the natives of South America have long used the plant for food and medicine. Maybe I can buy it from them?
I visit the Guarany M`bya community Tekoa Paranapuã in São Vicente who tell me they are not allowed to grow food in the ways they know best. They are told to buy their food in the supermarket, but their vegetables are dosed with pesticides and grown from seeds that do not reproduce. And besides, you cannot buy Erve de Jabuti there.
Now I am hungry and I have no money. Where can I find plants that are good for me?
Lunch Against Work’s first zine published in collaboration with Victor Sousa and Bruno Malagrino from the LABxS community focuses on Erve de Jabuti / Peperomia Pellucida an edible plant that flourishes around the grounds of Procomum in Villa Nova but is not to be found in the supermarkets or feiras livres.
Erve de Jabuti is considered a ‘panc,’ a word derived from a food movement I was introduced to in Brasil, PANC — Plantas Alimentícias Não Convencionais. I have experienced ‘pancing’ as an urban practice often undertaken by people interested in urban gardening food foraging and permaculture. Being mindful of the kinds of Indigenous knowledge from which it is derived alongside issues of food sovereignty, land appropriation and the industrial food complex, pancing can be a mode of critical urbanism.
As food costs rise, notes the World Bank, hunger increases. The rise of food prices in 2010 itself pushed 44 million people into poverty. UNICEF calculates that each day 22,000 children die due to poverty — most of them from malnutrition and starvation.The United Nations has made a pledge to end hunger by 2030 — Zero Hunger. This is an important standard. A decade remains before this task must be accomplished. But all signs point in the opposite direction. There is simply no political will to constrain the power of the agribusiness sector, nor to provide a just economic foundation for farmers to survive as capitalism transforms the countryside into dystopia.
Vijay Prashad, ‘Hunger is a grave warning to the world: If it is not defeated, the consequences will be dire.’ Salon, 8 September 2018.
Vijay Prashad describes hunger as a vulgar effect of structural economic inequality that acutely contributes to rural poverty, noting that Zero Hunger is one of United Nations’ ‘Global Goals’. Contemporary agriculture-based economies are determined by ‘monopoly firms’ who control the seed market (DuPont, Monsanto and Syngenta) and grain trade (ADM, Bunge and Cargill) and the food brands who control what is available on supermarket shelves (Associated British Foods, Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever). Prashad published this text in the lead up to the 2018 presidential elections in Brazil and he goes on to comment on the efforts of the PT (Brazilian Worker’s Party) to significantly overcome hunger and poverty during their 13 years in government (January 2003 – August 2016).
Given that the populist and socially divisive Jair Bolsanaro of the right wing PSL (Social Liberal Party) will ascend to the presidency in the 2019, many fear the effects of being further exposed to free-market conditions, the erosion of welfare measures, further attacks on social justice organisations, Indigenous and Black communities and the appropriation of their land. Indeed global inequalities seem certain to intensify during an epoch of climate change and mass extinction. The turn towards Trump-styled neo-fascistic capitalism in the (former) West and forms of authoritarianism succeeding everywhere, indicates that the poor and those made most vulnerable will bear the brunt of these planetary transformations.
‘I Took on the Food Industry’ is a recent episode of BBC radio’s The Food Chain series that discusses the power and political influence of major food industry firms and the kinds of ill-health, misery and indeed slavery from which they profit. Drawing on such investigations and analysis Almoço Contra o Trabalho seeks to develop ethics, habits and modes of organisation proper to this moment of climate change, mass extinction, neocolonialism and authoritarianism.