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By Carol Schachet
September 13th, 2010
Big business wants to gobble up our resources—grabbing land, privatizing water, patenting seeds and trying to squeeze out anyone who gets in the way of their profits. Fortunately, an alternative exists that places the rights of people and communities ahead of big business. The alternative is resource rights.
Grassroots International produced a short video that explains the challenges and hope surrounding the movement for Resource Rights, starting with the story of our partner, Dona Maria. By sharing it through social networks like Facebook, you can help spread word of this powerful movement to secure land, water and food right for all.
All people have the right to decide what they eat and to ensure that food in their community is healthy and accessible for everyone. This is the basic principle behind food sovereignty. If you want to support domestic food security through the production of healthy food at a fair price, and you believe that family farmers and fishers should have the first right to local and regional markets, then food sovereignty is for you.
By Jennifer Lentfer
September 9th, 2016
As food activists work to localize food systems in the United States, small farmers who sell their food locally still produce around 80 percent of the food in sub-Saharan Africa. But that does not mean that farmers and food activists on the African continent can be complacent. Quite the opposite.
Efforts to lead Haiti to self-sufficiency face a slew of chronic obstacles, including political gridlock or instability, severe environmental degradation, neglected rural infrastructure, and chronic natural disasters. Now we can add peanuts to the list.
Due to provisions in the US Farm Bill, American peanut growers can forfeit their crop, (i.e. give it away) rather than repay federal loans that are used to finance production and storage costs. And after a booming growing season, the US is sitting on 16,000 metric tons of peanuts, a good portion of which the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to ship to Haiti through its “Stocks for Food” program.
No social and political changes can be achieved without the men and women who dedicate their lives to the improvement of their communities' living conditions. Ricot Jean-Pierre is one of them. As the program director of our partner the Platform to Advocate Alternative Development in Haiti (PAPDA), Ricot works restlessly to better the lives of Haitians and the country itself – a fight he started at a very young age.
Ricot lived his early years under the violence of the Duvalier dictatorship. Very close friends of his and family members including his father directly experienced violence and repression.
The USDA is planning to ship 500 metric tons of dry-roasted U.S. peanuts to Haiti to feed schoolchildren this fall. Ask Haitian peanut farmer St. Abel Pierre her opinion, and she’ll tell you: she’s worried, and she isn’t alone.
Pierre is a lifelong resident of Kabay, an agricultural community set in the rolling hills of Haiti’s Artibonite Valley. She works with a group of ten other farmers in her area who come together to mitigate the effects of the region’s serious drought and worsening soil on their crops. These difficulties make peanut crops all the more important to farmers like her.
With heavy hearts, Grassroots International mourns the death of Lesbia Yaneth Urquía Urquía, a member of COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras), who was brutally killed on July 6, just 4 months after the assassination of Berta Cáceres. Lesbia Yaneth defended the rights of Indigenous communities and opposed the privatization of rivers in La Paz, Honduras. Since the 2009 military coup in Honduras, over 100 environmental activists (including Indigenous Peoples, peasant leaders, and more) have been killed, and thousands criminalized and jailed.
Since 1989, our partner the Association in the Settlement Areas of the State of Maranhão (ASSEMA) has organized thousands of women-headed rural families in Northeast Brazil to expand access to rights and to improve their quality of life.
This Mother’s Day we celebrate three women who find the courage to overcome the great adversity they face as they work to improve the lives of their families and of their communities. Juslene, Esperanza and Samiha are three inspiring mothers who, working with Grassroots International’s partners in Haiti, Honduras and Palestine, are key leaders within their communities.
April has been an exceptional month for Indigenous groups in Brazil.
On April 19th, which happens to be Indigenous people’s day in Brazil, Ibama, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, suspended the license of one of the biggest hydroelectric dam projects in Brazil, São Luiz do Tapajós in the Amazon, which was to be started this year. The company building the dam was planning on flooding about 7% of the Mundruku peoples land, which would be unconstitutional once the indigenous status of land is confirmed.