Via Campesina calls for Solidarity with Haiti including Haitian peasant movements in aftermath of earthquake
By Nikhil Aziz
January 18th, 2010
Grassroots International partner La Via Campesina, a global network of peasant, family farmer and small producer movements more than 100 million strong, and with members in Haiti issued this call for solidarity with Haitians including the peasant population.
By Loie Hayes
December 17th, 2009
As dignitaries and politicians meet in Copenhagen to discuss ways to curtail climate change, some of the people most affected by the crisis are also present, including the Via Campesina. One of Grassroots International’s partners, the Via represents more than 150 million small farmers, fishers and producers worldwide. As Henry Saragih, General Coordinator of Via Campesina, notes in the speech below, small farmers are cooling down the earth, while big industrial farms pose grave risks.
Why We Left Our Farms to Come to Copenhagen
I have had the privilege of being the point person for Grassroots International on our U.S-based advocacy work on food and farm policy issues. A large part of this work is done in conjunction with our allies in the US Working Group on the Global Food Crisis, where Grassroots is a member of the ad hoc steering committee I have been working to raise the voices of Grassroots’ partners, like the Via Campesina, in the policy solutions put forward for consideration in Washington. Among the strategies for which our partners, and we, advocate is a transition away from large-scale industrialized fossil-fuel-dependent agriculture toward a more earth and people friendly model of sustainable agriculture.
Paraphrasing Lisa Sullivan, School of the Americas Watch Latin America coordinator, the Honduran election last Sunday is another case of political ‘whitewash’ in the American continent.
In 1996 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) organized the first World Food Summit in Rome to, in their own words, “renew global commitment to the fight against hunger. The FAO called the Summit in response to widespread under nutrition and growing concern about the capacity of agriculture to meet future food needs.”
And, the answer is...350. That is 350 parts per million of Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere, the upper limit for sustainability of life, human life anyway. The question, however, is why are more -- not less -- Americans not convinced about the dangers of global warming and climate change in 2009 than in 2006? A new poll by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press released yesterday, found some alarming downward trends. Only 35 percent of Americans see global warming as a serious problem, and about 57 percent believe there is solid evidence that the earth is getting warmer.
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.