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Jonathan Leaning's blog
By Jonathan Leaning
December 11th, 2015
Together with our supporters, during 2015 Grassroots International championed hands-on solutions to some of the most pressing challenges we face: hunger, violations of human rights, climate justice and economic disparity. At this moment, we stop to celebrate some of the remarkable achievements from the last year.
Grassroots International is hard at work across the U.S. and beyond putting issues such as climate justice, food sovereignty, resource rights, Palestine, women’s leadership—even when they are controversial or unpopular—into the limelight.
Spreading the word is a key strategy we use to advance resource rights, particularly when it comes to connecting our Global South partners to sources of solidarity, funding and support, and making changes in policies here in the U.S. We do more than give grants; we build solidarity right here in the U.S. for our partners and their social movements. It is also a key reason why funders and donors choose Grassroots International as a vehicle to support them.
The long-standing Afro-Brazilian, or Quilombola, village of Tambor, Amazonia received a nasty surprise last year. A federal judge sent notice, from his office 3,600 kilometers away in Brazil’s capital, to these descendants of fugitive slaves that their village wasn’t actually Quilombola, and therefore the entire village needed to be evicted.
This was in spite of the fact that the Quilombola families have lived and raised their families there for over 100 years. They had also applied for and secured official recognition and status as a protected Quilombola village, which gave them the legal right to the territory on which the village stands.
In honor of the International Day of Peasants' Struggle (April 17), the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance today released A Preliminary Report on Seeds and Seed Practices across the US based on surveys of seed savers and seed advocates from around the United States.
Alfredo Lopez is a hunted man.
Miriam Nobre is a Brazilian feminist activist and current coordinator of World March of Women (WMW), an international feminist movement that connects grassroots women to eliminate the root causes of poverty and violence against women. She is also an agronomist, and has completed a master’s program in Latin American Integration at the University of São Paulo (Brazil). Miriam recently received an award from Grassroots International as part of our 30th anniversary celebration in Boston. While in Boston, she talked with Grassroots staffer Jonathan Leaning about her work with the WMW and her activism.
A new UN report brings urgency and insights into the current food system – and touches upon the hot button question that is increasingly on people’s minds around the world: Is industrial food safe – either for people or for the planet?
In the news lately for asserting its [extended] patent rights and squelching attempts to label genetically modified foods, the mention of the word ‘Monsanto’ likely conjures up images of family farmers being sued, Agent Orange, the notorious rBGH growth hormone for cows, the suspected carcinogen saccharin, and many other notorious legacies. Now Grassroots International’s ally Food and Water Watch has produced a fascinating and comprehensive report that traces the corporation’s history and close links to legislators, academic researchers, and government regulators.
The real costs of the industrial food system on people’s lives and the planet are as extensive as they are hidden. The article below by long-time Grassroots International friends, Beverley Bell and Tory Field of Other Worlds, offers a thought-provoking summary of those costs—all of which challenge small farmers in the Global South on a daily basis.
The True Costs of Industrialized Food
“There are thousands upon thousands who weren’t as lucky as I was—I survived hunger....I probably would not have survived had it not been for the support and solidarity of groups like Grassroots International.” Janaina Stronzake, an internationally known woman leader in the Brazilian land rights movement