By Salena Tramel
November 28th, 2011
Selingué, Mali—Early morning on day one of the first peasant-organized international conference to stop land grabbing held in Nyéléni, Mali, delegates from more than 30 countries took their seats for the opening ceremony. Many fumbled with the bulky and crackling radios that would provide simultaneous translation, while a small group of women from across Africa gathered in the center of the open-air conference hall, their feet sinking into the sand. In a long-standing tradition of the Via Campesina, the global peasant movement, the women kicked off the events with a mistica—a ceremony intended to depict socio-political struggles and incite debate.
By Salena Tramel
November 23rd, 2011
Nyéléni, Mali – 19 November 2011
Effective agrarian reform, according to the Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform (GCAR) includes “ a bundle of policies that ensure that agricultural land is distributed to landless peasants and smallholders swiftly and equitably.” Such redistribution is necessary to combat growing hunger and landlessness worldwide. In fact, nearly one billion people around the world are now suffering from hunger and malnutrition – about half of which live in smallholder farming households. This crisis of world hunger is set to deepen as livelihood resources such as land and water continue to be transferred from such groups to the financially powerful in ever larger areas and longer timeframes.
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.
October 13th, 2011
The Community Food Security Coalition and the US Food Sovereignty Alliance will announce on World Food Day, October 16th 2011 that the Landless Workers Movement of Brazil (MST) has been awarded the 2011 Food Sovereignty Prize. The MST is a Grassroots International partner and member of the Via Campesina.
Grassroots International partner and leading peasant movement, the Via Campesina produced a new video presenting its struggle for peasant's agriculture and food sovereignty all around the world. The 20-minute film interviews farmers, land activists and movement participants from across the world discussing what food sovereignty means to them, and how small farmers can provide solutions to global hunger and climate disruption.
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.
In order to fix the broken food system, we need to de-colonize our minds. What do I mean about "de-colonize"? To understand that, do this short exercise. What comes to your mind, when you hear the word “Agriculture?” Is it a tree, a head of lettuce or vast endless fields somewhere in the US Midwest?
If the first thing came to your mind was a vast field of a single crop (such as endless rows of corn), you are certainly not alone. For decades, both consumers and farmers have been educated to think of agriculture as an industry of monocrops. The end of small, integrated farm plots (i.e. real food) coincided with the advent of industrial agriculture and the launch of the “Green Revolution.”
Grassroots International joined nearly 500 other organizations around the world in signing the “Dakar Appeal Against Land Grabbing.” The appeal, originally drafted at the World Social Forum in Dakar in February 2011, calls upon governments to immediately cease all massive land grabs and return the plundered land to communities.
Below is an article from Grassroots International partner, the Via Campesina, in preparation for the International Day of Peasants’ Struggles. The Via is an international movement which brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world. It defends small-scale sustainable agriculture as a way to promote social justice and dignity and strongly opposes corporate driven agriculture and transnational companies that are destroying people and nature.