Last weekend, I attended an expert roundtable on food security hosted by the Commission for the Human Future. Everyone was in broad agreement that our current agricultural system is in crisis. Decades of intensive agriculture are eroding our soils, drawing down our aquifers and are a major contributor to our current biodiversity crisis.

Inspiringly, we were also in broad agreement about the solutions. We rapidly need to transition to agroecological farming techniques, relocalise our food economies, and halt the use of toxic pesticides and chemicals that are poisoning our environment and bodies. We need resilient food systems that embrace biodiversity and build our soils.

There is just one major obstacle to achieving this vision – and that is Big Ag. Giant agri-chemical companies such as Bayer – and the organisation that represents them – CropLife have their own vision for the future of agriculture. This involves highly automated digital farming – using drones and satellite data to precisely map on farm conditions and to prescribe the exact genetically modified seeds, pesticides and fertilisers to be used. This is how they plan to further intensify farming and to entrench their control of our food chain.

Unfortunately, this is the vision of agriculture our Federal Government is currently supporting. Last year, on one of my lobbying trips to Federal Parliament, a rural journalist commented “CropLife totally own this place – don’t they?”. They do – in the last two years CropLife and Bayer have donated over $200k to our major political parties. And this is reflected in the Coalition and Labor’s recent decision to allow several gene editing techniques to be used in animals, plants and microbes with no requirement for a risk assessment or traceability.

This year, Big Ag is going one step further – lobbying for the government to amend our Food Code so that gene edited animals, plants and microbes can be used in our food with no safety assessment and no labelling. We can’t allow this to happen!

Friends of the Earth is working hard to defend our right to know what’s in our food and how it’s produced – but we need your help! We are completely reliant on people like you to support our work. Are you are able to support us with a tax deductible donation?

Louise Sales is Friends of the Earth Australia’s food and technology spokesperson and a member of Friends of the Earth International’s food sovereignty steering group