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By Saulo Araujo
March 6th, 2012
By Salena Tramel
October 14th, 2011
Hebron (Al-Khalil in Arabic) is home to more than 165,000 Palestinians—making it the largest city in the Palestinian West Bank. The city is famous for leather shoes, avant-garde blown-glass vases and qidreh, a fragrant dish cooked in clay pots. It is also notorious for settler violence in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. And now Hebron is becoming increasingly known for an agricultural project that sets the standards for access to food in that city and across the occupied Palestinian territories.
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.
Away from the televised and broken streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti hosts some scenic worlds. Down south, there are remnants of cloud forests that fade into blue skies, and in the north cacti twist out of rust desert soil. The eye takes in lime green rice fields in the central valleys that give way to steep rings of mountains. Most of the people who live there are counting on humble rural livelihoods. They find an enormous source of dignity in their peasant identities. Little by little, their work breathes life back into a country that they vow to make self-sustaining once more.
Rwanda is the first nation to sign the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). The CAADP is one of the many weapons deployed in Africa's so-called Green Revolution, designed to produce better yields through investments in agriculture.
Like most other market-based solutions, REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), and its more recent avatar REDD +, are fundamentally about profit – not forests, not people, and not global warming or the climate.
Rivers are sacred in many cultures and central to the World’s early civilizations, from Mesopotamia and Egypt to India and China. Perhaps this was on his mind when Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, famously (if ironically) called mega dams the “temples of modern India.” He would have been more prescient in calling them “temples of doom” given the enormous human, environmental and economic costs of these behemoths. In India alone, since independence, by some estimates nearly 50 million people have been displaced.
According to Grassroots International ally Fahamu, “Agriculture… remains the main source of income of a rural population generally estimated at 70% of the total population… [W]omen remain an essential link in agricultural production, accounting for 70% of food production, managing nearly 100% of processing activities, responsible for about 50% of the maintenance of the family herds and also responsible for some 60% of sales activities in the markets.” Any solutions to the problems of African agriculture, therefore, must include women. In fact, African women are saying, “We Are the Solution.”
The recent monsoonal floods in Pakistan have devastated nearly a third of the country’s landmass – by some estimates area the size of Italy. More than 20 million people have been directly impacted by the rising waters of the Indus and other rivers in three of Pakistan’s four major provinces – Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the Punjab (Pakistan’s bread-basket) and Sindh.
In a recent article in The Nation (“Retreat to Subsistence,” July 5, 2010), Peter Canby describes the seminal work of one of Grassroots International’s partners in Mexico, the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO). Using UNOSJO's work as an example, he explores the larger issue of of indigenous rights in Mesoamerica.