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By Sara Mersha
December 12th, 2011
As UN negotiators sat in their air conditioned rooms during the last official day of the United Nations climate negotiations, I had a chance to visit a community in Pateque, Mozambique. I spoke with members of the National Peasants Union (UNAC), a member organization of the Via Campesina. They described the ways they have been impacted by climate change: the summer is hotter than they can ever remember, and they showed me large tracts of empty land where the sun had burned many of their crops (including tomatoes and cucumbers).
Right now, government representatives from around the world are gathered in Durban, South Africa, for the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference – better known as the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17). Historically, these closed-door meetings are where some of the world’s largest polluting countries – including the United States – discuss (and occasionally adopt) global climate policy. At last year’s COP16 meeting in Cancun, Mexico, these governments negotiated the details of polluting and land-grabbing projects like REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and other carbon-trading schemes, which are fundamentally about profit – not forests, not people, and not global w
Selingué, Mali—Early morning on day one of the first peasant-organized international conference to stop land grabbing held in Nyéléni, Mali, delegates from more than 30 countries took their seats for the opening ceremony. Many fumbled with the bulky and crackling radios that would provide simultaneous translation, while a small group of women from across Africa gathered in the center of the open-air conference hall, their feet sinking into the sand. In a long-standing tradition of the Via Campesina, the global peasant movement, the women kicked off the events with a mistica—a ceremony intended to depict socio-political struggles and incite debate.
By Salena Tramel
November 23rd, 2011
Nyéléni, Mali – 19 November 2011
Effective agrarian reform, according to the Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform (GCAR) includes “ a bundle of policies that ensure that agricultural land is distributed to landless peasants and smallholders swiftly and equitably.” Such redistribution is necessary to combat growing hunger and landlessness worldwide. In fact, nearly one billion people around the world are now suffering from hunger and malnutrition – about half of which live in smallholder farming households. This crisis of world hunger is set to deepen as livelihood resources such as land and water continue to be transferred from such groups to the financially powerful in ever larger areas and longer timeframes.
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.
Grassroots International partner and leading peasant movement, the Via Campesina produced a new video presenting its struggle for peasant's agriculture and food sovereignty all around the world. The 20-minute film interviews farmers, land activists and movement participants from across the world discussing what food sovereignty means to them, and how small farmers can provide solutions to global hunger and climate disruption.
From her humble beginnings, Sayra never imagined the profound impact she would have on the global movement for food sovereignty.
In order to fix the broken food system, we need to de-colonize our minds. What do I mean about "de-colonize"? To understand that, do this short exercise. What comes to your mind, when you hear the word “Agriculture?” Is it a tree, a head of lettuce or vast endless fields somewhere in the US Midwest?
If the first thing came to your mind was a vast field of a single crop (such as endless rows of corn), you are certainly not alone. For decades, both consumers and farmers have been educated to think of agriculture as an industry of monocrops. The end of small, integrated farm plots (i.e. real food) coincided with the advent of industrial agriculture and the launch of the “Green Revolution.”