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By Saulo Araujo
November 4th, 2011
By Frances Moore Lappé and Nikhil Aziz
October 14th, 2011
For three decades the UN’s World Food Day on Oct. 16 has offered a ready-made opportunity to tackle hunger’s causes and solutions. Unfortunately, the conversation often focuses narrowly on ways to increase the food supply with purchased technologies originating far from farmers’ fields.
October 13th, 2011
The Community Food Security Coalition and the US Food Sovereignty Alliance will announce on World Food Day, October 16th 2011 that the Landless Workers Movement of Brazil (MST) has been awarded the 2011 Food Sovereignty Prize. The MST is a Grassroots International partner and member of the Via Campesina.
The Nation Editor's Note: Frances Moore Lappé's essay below kicks off our forum on the food movement. Raj Patel, Vandana Shiva, Eric Schlosser, and Michael Pollan have contributed replies. [Links to those replies appear below.]
By Alicia Tozour
Bev Bell, a long time Grassroots International ally, recently published the article below, which describes a Learning Exchange program between Brazil and Haiti, supported by Grassroots International. Bev has worked with Haitian social movements, including many of Grassroots International’s partners, for decades. This piece describes the dynamic cross-border collaboration between partners in Haiti and Brazil. Jose Luis Patrola of the Landless Workers Movement puts it well: "We're not here to teach, we're here to learn." He also acknowledged the financial support provided by Grassroots that helped make the Haiti-Brazil learning exchange happen. Perhaps it’s largely true, as noted by Patrola, that social movements have forgotten the concept of internationalism.
In recent years Brazil has enjoyed a reputation for economic vitality and democratic stability. While there is no doubt that there have been improvements from the catastrophic inflation of the 1990s and the military dictatorship of the 60s, 70s and 80s, Brazil still, sadly, ranks high in social and economic inequalities and human rights abuses.
Widespread rural poverty is increasing and the number of landless families is growing. In Brazil, two percent of the population owns 42 percent of the land, much of which lies idle or underutilized or is used for export production that does little to support local economies. A huge peasant population remains landless and lacks access to even the most basic resources.
The Via Campesina declared April 17 as "International Day of Peasants' Struggles." This day commemorates the 1996 slaughter by the Brazilian police of 19 peasants of the Landless Worker Movement (MST) while they mobilized to gain access to some land. The struggle for recognition of peasant rights remains a priority of the Via Campesina, one of Grassroots International's partners, and they are coordinating hundreds of actions worldwide.
April 17 commemorates the International Day of Peasants’ Struggle for land, water, food and justice.