By Maria Aguiar
December 8th, 2009
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.
By Maria Aguiar
November 16th, 2009
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.
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:
Grassroots International's friends at the Global Development & Environment Institute (GDAE) at Tufts University announced their award of the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought to Bina Agarwal of Delhi University, India. Agarwal is an early pioneer of research and advocacy on gender and land rights, which many of Grassroots' partners have been fighting for in the field.
Ravi Rebbapragada Receives National leadership Award
Ravi Rebbapragada, coordinator of Mines, Minerals & Peoples-India (MM&P), received the National leadership Award - 2008 for Community Service and Social Upliftment. MM&P is a growing alliance of communities, individuals and institutions who are concerned and affected by mining, and a grant recipient of Grassroots International through the Global Activist Fund.
Below is a press release from MM&P describing the honor:
June 12, 2009
Ravi Rebbapragada Receives National leadership Award for Social Service from Vice President Shri Hamid Ansari
"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."