Insights, the print newsletter of Grassroots International, features stories, photos and analysis from Grassroots and our partners in the global movement for social justice. Insights is printed twice each year. Back issues are available here in PDF format.

  • A new colonization is afoot in Africa. It’s a violent usurpation of lands and livelihoods, being perpetrated under the guise of agricultural development....Yet the people of these nations know otherwise – that industrial agriculture intensifies local hunger, depletes the soil and steals land from small farmers. That’s why they stand fi rm to advance sustainable farming practices like agroecology.

  • Last year, thousands gathered in New York City for the People’s Climate Justice Summit. Crowds swelled with energized, committed people, ready for action. One of those people was Miriam Miranda, whose words rang out over the murmuring masses: “What responsibility are we assuming with our future generations?”

    ... Miriam and OFRANEH (The Black Fraternal Order of Hondruas) see the urgency every day in their work with the Afro-indigenous Garifuna community. The Garifuna are an agrarian people whose livelihood includes fishing and subsistence farming. But their way of life, their very survival, is now in jeopardy.

  • “Peasant farmers don’t produce commodities, they produce food. Peasant farming is the farming of hope.” That’s what Grassroots International’s partner in Brazil, Valdir Misnerovicz recently told us during a learning exchange.

    Grassroots International has played a critical role in standing with and supporting small farmers and land rights activists like Valdir who are leading the charge to create a healthy, sustainable and empowering food system. Or, as he says, a project that represents life. As the stories in this newsletter show, Grassroots International and our global partners are skillfully and courageously choosing to grow food (not products), to create life and not the death that comes from land grabs, corporate control of seeds and other dead-end options.

  • Farmers have worked the rugged land in Western Africa for generations, moving seasonally from field to forest for food and livelihood. While life was never easy, the community worked  together, in harmony with their surroundings, to provide for themselves and their neighbors.

    All that changed when the government planted a virtual “For Lease” sign on the land. China and
    other buyers grabbed it up, quickly draining the land of nutrients with vast fields of monocrops for export. This is the plight of many farmers across the Global South. Massive land grabs – combined with the influx of genetically modified seeds under the banner of the “Green Revolution” – come with empty promises of increased agricultural productivity and the end of hunger.

  • As people who care about the planet and about those most vulnerable to hunger, we need to ask some serious questions: What is the most effective, ecological and humane way to feed the world? How can farmers sustain themselves, their communities and us? What is the long-term impact of how we grow food, and who benefits from it? The answers to all those questions support the “Davids” of the world – the small farmers who are using sustainable methods that produce more food than their industrial counterparts, while also reducing greenhouse gas emission.

  • The fight for social justice is not for the faint of heart. This edition of Insights is a powerful reminder of that fact, bearing witness to the tremendous courage of our partners, whose activism often puts their lives at risk. Many courageous individuals have lost their lives. Because supporting the legal rights of our partner communities is a fundamental part of our work, Grassroots International awards grants to a number of organizations whose sole purpose is to defend those who engage in resource rights activism; to document human rights abuses; and to protect individuals involved in social justice movements.

  • As people interested in making long term and lasting change, we all need to know if we are on the right path. Do our donations, grants and hours of activism make a difference? And could they be doing even more? These core questions drive the evaluation we do at Grassroots International with each grant we make in an effort to maximize the impact of every gift we receive.

  • Put simply, agroecology recognizes that a crop lives in a complex neighborhood of pests,  aquifers, land and climate patterns, and economic pressures. That doesn't sound like a radical notion, but the truth is that if applied, it might just blow the roof off of current industrial agriculture practices.

  • A movement is healthy and dynamic when young people are involved and take charge. The energy and imagination of this next  generation of resource rights defenders hold the key to their own survival – and perhaps the planet's as well.  Read on for four stories of inspiring young leaders that Grassroots International has been proud to support as part of our partnership with global movements for human rights and social change.

  • The Learning Exchange Program has no alumni-named buildings or tenured positions. Instead, it enables farmers and human rights activists to improve crop yields and transform a rotten global food system.We sometimes call it the “University of Dirt.” This issue of INSIGHTS highlights the Learning Exchange Program and features several of the scores of grants Grassroots has made to organizers worldwide.