By Carol Schachet
October 20th, 2009
At a gathering of food and trade activists from around the United States and Canada, Grassroots International's partner, the Via Campesina, receieved the 2009 Food Sovereignty Prize for its relentless struggle for the rights of peasants and small producers of the world and against the disastrous neoliberal system of industrial agriculture. The award was received during the annual conference of the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) held in Des Moines, Iowa, October 10-13.
The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), an independent international research and development organization, recently published a book that should be of interest to Grassroots International's supporters. Available free online, Towards Food Sovereignty: Reclaiming Autonomous Food Systems offers great analysis and links to video and audio files that show farmers, indigenous peoples and consumers all working to promote food sovereignty.
Throughout the world, social movements are the driving force behind a new food sovereignty policy framework, which aims to guarantee and protect people's space, ability and right to define their own models of production, food distribution and consumption patterns.
October 17th is marked as by the United Nations as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. At Grassroots International, we have been working with our partners for over 25 years towards achieving that goal. Clearly, a lot needs to be done to get us there.
The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) recently published a report on the country’s agricultural sector. The last report had been published in 1996. The new document supports several points raised by peasant organizations, such as our partner the Via Campesina International, around the critical role of the small scale agriculture to climate justice and hunger. The main points are outlined below.
Today is World Food Day!
World Food Day is celebrated every year on October 16 – the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. World Food Day raises awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger. This year's theme for World Food Day is "Achieving food security in times of crisis."
A critical issue related to food and agriculture that is finally gaining more attention is climate change. Industrial agriculture contributes significantly to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions.
Mamadou Goita, the Executive Director of the Institute for Research and the Promotion of Alternatives in Development (IRPAD) in Mali, was interviewed at the Salzburg Global Seminar by Susanna Thorpe, of WREN Media. IRPAD is a Grassroots International ally that works closely with our partner, the Via Campesina. Mamadou’s was a rare dissenting voice at the conference "Toward a 'Green Revolution' in Africa?" where top-down technocentric solutions dominated the discourse.
Here is the youtube video of Mamadou's interview:
The military coup in Honduras is in its 80th day, and the Honduran people continue their peaceful resistance.
In contrast, the police are cracking down on protesters. Public officials not aligned with the coup government are being persecuted. The government repression has led to several casualties, including the death of two young people.
Despite the repression, those seeking democracy in Honduras refuse to be intimidated. Now members of the National Front of Resistance against the Coup D’état in Honduras are calling for a world-wide fast in solidarity with their struggle.
Today, thousands of people will fill the streets of Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. They are students, housekeepers, children and farmers from different parts of country—many of whom walked 10-12 miles a day to get to the capital. As column after column of people arrive, their spirits are unbeatable and their demand is clear: They want their elected president back.
In solidarity with our partner, the Via Campesina, Grassroots International joins the Global Day of Action for Honduras, August 11, 2009.
The Via Campesina issued a call to stand in solidarity with the people of Honduras: