By Nicola Bullard with Gopal Dayaneni
September 16th, 2009
By Carol Schachet
May 11th, 2009
"The cascading series of events now known as the world food crisis started in Mexico as the 'tortilla war' in January 2007. It then flared up in Italy as the 'spaghetti strike' nine months later. Later it became an unstoppable avalanche ... La Vía Campesina believes that this crisis is the result of decades of destructive policies: pressure from international institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to decrease investment in small-scale food production through structural adjustment programs; increasing the power of transnational corporations; financial speculation; and more recently, governments' support for the frantic escalation in the production of agro-fuels."
April 17th, 2009
Washington D.C. (April 16, 2009) - The U.S. Working Group on the Food Crisis, a group representing anti-hunger, family farm, community food security, environmental, international aid, labor, food justice, consumers and other food system actors, urges the G8 at the upcoming Agricultural Ministerial in Treviso, Italy to reject the failed policies of the Green Revolution. A recent landmark report backed by the UN and World Bank argues for agroecological and sustainable agriculture, rather than reliance on chemical-intensive practices and genetic engineering.
I believe peasants from Northeast Brazil have a few important things to tell us about climate justice. For starters, the majority of the Northeastern region is dry. And it has been dry since the last glacial period. Also, the Northeast region where I come from is the largest and most populated semi-arid region on the planet, home to 20.5 million people mostly of indigenous and Afro-Brazilian descent.
Because of droughts and lack of water in the past, masses of hungry peasants were forced to migrate to other regions in Brazil.
Climate Change is big business. Literally! Many corporations, including some of the worst polluters, are salivating at the prospects of potentially vast sums of money that could very well come their way in the name of saving the planet. Climate justice activists, including indigenous peoples, are rightly worried that in the rush to "save the planet" governments and international institutions (including the World Bank, for example) will once again put profits before people.
Photo courtesy of Sandra Yu, Detroiters for Environmental Justice
Bélém, Brazil, 1 February 2009
No to neoliberal illusions, yes to people's solutions!
For centuries, productivism and industrial capitalism have been destroying our cultures, exploiting our labour and poisoning our environment.
Now, with the climate crisis, the Earth is saying "enough", "ya basta"!
Once again, the people who created the problem are telling us that they also have the solutions: carbon trading, so-called "clean coal", more nuclear power, agrofuels, even a "green new deal". But these are not real solutions, they are neoliberal illusions. It is time to move beyond these illusions.
"I simply gotta march, my heart's a drummer; nobody, no, nobody is gonna rain on my parade!"
I remembered the lyrics of this song, first sung by Barbra Streisand I think, as we marched – some 100,000 of us – in a torrential downpour through the streets of Belém, at the mouth of the Amazon in the Brazilian state of Pará. It was the Opening March of the 2009 World Social Forum. Despite the rain, the enthusiasm of the crowds was contagious.
In 2006 Grassroots International received a report from the Social Network for Justice and Human Rights (Rede Social), one of our Brazilian partners, about rapid expansion of agrofuels production based on large scale plantation-style cultivation of sugar cane for ethanol. We also heard from them about massive expansion of soy plantations and U.S.
Grassroots International and the National Family Farm Coalition announce the release of a new popular education tool that can help you understand and fix the world food crisis: Food for Thought and Action: A Food Sovereignty Curriculum.
It's been said that "you are what you eat." In the face of a global food crisis, it's clear that we've been forced to swallow far more than what's on our plates. Our global food system is broken, with nearly a billion hungry people around the world and millions more forced from their failed farms as industrial agriculture privatizes and despoils our water, soil and biodiversity.
Grassroots International ally Phyllis Robinson of Equal Exchange recently wrote about the potential wedge driven between advocates of local foods (often called "localvores" in the current vernacular) and those working for Fair Trade. As she points out, Fair Trade and Buy Local advocates share many important concerns about the ways we can take back our food system so that it works best for small farmers and consumers, both locally and throughout the world – developing systems that promote food sovereignty. For more information, read her article.