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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
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.
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.
The Nation Editor's Note: Frances Moore Lappé's essay below kicks off our forum on the food movement. Raj Patel, Vandana Shiva, Eric Schlosser, and Michael Pollan have contributed replies. [Links to those replies appear below.]
The elderly woman sat cross-legged atop a worn tribal carpet in the dirt, her eyes downcast and swollen from tears. Above us, a plastic tarp hanging precariously on sticks flapped loudly in the wind as she began to speak. “You need to know what happened here today,” she said in Arabic. “Today we lost everything.”
Earlier, we had set out by truck to visit some of the projects Grassroots International supports through our partner the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC). Their work includes supporting Palestinian farmers through the provision of seedlings.
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.
From her humble beginnings, Sayra never imagined the profound impact she would have on the global movement for food sovereignty.