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By Claire Gilbert
December 18th, 2015
Last year I had the honor of travelling to the West Bank with a delegation of 15 donors, activists and organizers all committed to winning the recognition of basic human rights in Palestine. We spent an afternoon in the village of Al Hadidiya in the Northern Jordan Valley. There Abu Saqer and his large family live. Abu Saqer was eloquent as he shared the reasons why he has worked with Grassroots International’s partner Stop the Wall to form the Jordan Valley Council--a project Grassroots supports to unite Palestinian farmers and herders who are under constant threat of demolition in Israel’s “Relocation Plan.”
Descendents of escapees from African slave ships and indigenous communities, the Garifuna people live on the Atlantic coast of Honduras. Their beautiful seascape and ecologically rich lands have attracted aggressive interest from foreign investors for plans ranging from tourist resorts to mining to industrial agriculture.
By From an Interview with Mamadou Goïta, Edited by Simone Adler and Beverly Bell
December 3rd, 2015
Food sovereignty can transform local, national, and regional markets to support countries’ domestic economies and allow us to create wealth, both in production and knowledge.
Building Global Food Sovereignty
Current international debates on feeding the world center on financial viability and making global agriculture profitable. Production is oriented towards international markets, which compromise the food sovereignty of many countries.
No country can survive orienting itself towards international markets because producers don’t decide the price. States give money to banks to support agroindustry, which is exploiting the population.
When two dams owned by transnational mining companies burst in Brazil, a flood of toxic mud and wastewater poured into neighboring villages and began its journey down the Rio Doce (“Sweet River”). This tragedy could have been avoided if companies heeded warnings sounded more than two years ago. Instead, authorities estimate over 2,000 people have been affected in the immediate area of the dam, with more than 600 people evacuated (many rescued by helicopter), hundreds left homeless, and dozens of people who are still unaccounted for feared dead.
Our farmer-managed seed systems in Africa are being criminalized and displaced by a very aggressive green revolution project of corporate occupation by big multinational companies. This violent agrarian transformation is facing profound objection.
Earlier this fall, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation held its 14th annual conference in the city of Atlanta, Georgia. About 400 people from some 93 member groups dedicated to Palestinian rights, including Grassroots International, gathered there to strategize how best to advance our collective work for freedom, justice and equality. Check out videos and pictures of panels, workshops and performances from the conference.
Here are 10 reflections on the weekend:
The fate of the Garifuna people of Honduras hangs in the balance as they face a Honduran state that is all too eager to accommodate the neoliberal agenda of U.S. and Canadian investors. The current economic development strategy of the Honduran government, in the aftermath of the 2009 coup against the democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya, has not only benefited the political and economic elite in Honduras, but it has also encouraged the usurpation of some of the territories of indigenous peoples of this Central American nation. The often-violent expropriation of indigenous land threatens the Garifuna’s subsistence.
In this moment when it is vital to assert that Black lives matter, the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance honors Black and Afro-Indigenous farmers, fishermen, and stewards of ancestral lands and water with the 2015 Food Sovereignty Prize.
The two prize winners are the Federation of Southern Cooperatives in the U.S., and the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH). The prizes will be presented in Des Moines on October 14, 2015.
The award honors both groups as a vital part of food chain workers, who together are creating food sovereignty, meaning a world with healthy, ecologically produced food, and democratic control over food systems.
One year ago today, the 51-day campaign of bombing, tank fire and all-out destruction by the Israeli military on Gaza finally ended. The 51 days of darkness euphemistically dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” were the third and most deadly round in a series of violent assaults on Gaza.
It is truly difficult, perhaps impossible to imagine life in Gaza, then and now, for the 1.8 million people who live there. First of all, there is the trauma.
“This is not about people who were killed, it is about us who were waiting for death every minute,” said Dr. Mona El-Farra to Grassroots International supporter and author Alice Rothschild during her recent visit to Gaza. Dr. El-Farra is the director of the Red Crescent Memorial Hospital that was bombed during the attacks.
A longtime partner of Grassroots International, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) is the first member of LaVia Campesina from the Middle East. UAWC has received several awards for their work advancing sustainable agricultural development, including two last year: the US Food Sovereignty Prize and the United Nation’s Equator Prize.