Building a Movement, Haitian Style

I spent the better part of last week crisscrossing Haiti’s arid Northwest with Grassroots International’s partner the National Congress of the Peasant’s Movement of Papay (MPNKP). MPNKP is best known to our allies and friends for their Creole Pig Repopulation project that we have supported for many years, and I was excited to follow up with families in far-off rural areas that our organization has not yet visited.

Throughout our time on the ground together, it became clear to me that it’s not just about the pigs—it’s about the organizing. The pig repopulation project represents this organizing.

Legislative activity heats up

Both the House and Senate are considering legislation with tremendous implications for farmers and agriculture across the globe. On the Senate side, the Global Food Security Bill, S.384 (also known as the Casey-Lugar Bill), calls for the United States to play a leadership role in implementing questionable food production strategies in developing countries. The bill mandates that massive investments in foreign assistance for agriculture shall include genetically engineered (GE) technologies. However, numerous studies and reports tell otherwise and warn of the dangers posed by GE technolgies, including soil erosion, cross-breeding, lower long-term yields and other environmental hazards.

“Business as Usual” Will Not Solve Global Hunger Crisis

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.

Will the New “Green Economy” be Fueled by Unsustainable Agrofuels?

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.

New Report on Agro-fuels from Grassroots’ Brazilian Partners

Rede Social, a Grassroots International partner, and longtime ally the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) released an 80-page report on the expansion of sugar cane plantations for agro-fuels in the Amazon and Central Plateau region of Brazil.

Announcing: A New Popular Education Tool!

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.

Praise in Oaxaca

Grassroots International would like to salute Jesus León Santos, the leader of a democratic, farmer-to-farmer network in Oaxaca, Mexico, for winning the 2008 Goldman Environmental Prize – one of the most esteemed awards in the global environmental movement.

The Best-Paved Road in Haiti

The road to Jacmel is paved with good intentions - in fact, it is the best-paved road in all of Haiti. I was told that the road was built by France as a friendship gift to Haiti, but Haitians don't see it as enough repayment for all that France has taken from Haiti since colonial times. Centuries ago, when France herded African slaves to Haiti to work in the sugar cane plantations, they filled the slave ships returning to France with Haiti's precious tropical timber. Thus began Haiti's deforestation, from which it has never recovered.

Expansion of Biotechnology in Brazil Augments Rural Conflicts

On March 7 several hundred people occupied a research site of the U.S.-based agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, and destroyed the greenhouse and experimental plots of genetically-modified (GM) corn. Participants in the act, members of the international farmers' organization La Vía Campesina, stated in a note that the act was to protest the Brazilian government's decision in February to legalize Monsanto's GM Guardian® corn, which was recently banned in France, Austria, and Hungary due to risks to the environment and human health.

Blue Helmets in Haiti: Reminders of Unmet Needs

Hello from Port au Prince! I've just returned to Haiti for the first time since May 2004 and wanted to share my impressions with you.