Food Sovereignty

Notes from Learning Call on Food Sovereignty in Africa and Nyeleni 2007: Forum for Food Sovereignty

Presenter: Diamantino Nhampossa is the Executive Coordinator for the National Small Scale Farmers Union in Mozambique and a Member of International Coordinating Committee of the Via Campesina for the Africa Region. (Contact information for Diamantino Nhampossa:

Presenter: Anna Lappé is the author of the best selling book "Grub" and a past Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellow.

Moderator and Presenter: Corrina Steward, Resource Rights Specialist, Grassroots International. Corrina was a participant in the Forum on Food Sovereignty along with a number of Grassroots International partners.

No to Instant Death; Yes to Cancer and Poisoning!

From all the roughing up in the press of China for their shoddy and criminal regulatory neglect, you’d think it was downright patriotic in the US to regulate self-interested corporations. The hypocrisy of our tepid and schizoid embrace of corporate regulation drives me nuts.

Reporting on the discovery of anti-freeze in toothpaste and the execution of the head of China’s Food and Drug Administration equivalent, the New York Times and others have written about recent failures of the Chinese regulatory system which has resulted in dozens of consumer deaths and by many accounts, the slow poisoning of millions. The scrutiny and criticism is welcome and overdue.

What Kind of Aid Does Africa Need?

My country – Mozambique – is one of those African countries in which the consequences of colonization, neo- or re-colonization, and structural adjustment programs are visible. There is a growing number of poor people living in rural areas without basic public services like water, health services and education, while our main urban centres are showing a concentration of wealth in the hands of a small group of people. The suburbs are becoming more crowded than ever, and everyday life is a big challenge.

Fasten Your Seatbelt for the Next Green Revolution

Are you ready? Or are you still tallying up the costs to the commons from the first Green Revolution? I invite you to listen in on a fascinating debate between farmer advocates and the money behind the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

A Commons-Defining Bill

What single bill – albeit with a great many tentacles – currently sits before Congress and will define the future of so much of the commons – our land use, soil and water quality, the future of our rural communities?

Look no further than the tip of your fork: the Farm Bill.

Michael Pollan, in the New York Times magazine, April 22, 2007, described it this way: “This resolutely unglamorous and head-hurtingly complicated piece of legislation…sets the rules for the American food system – indeed to a considerable extent, for the world’s food system.”

Another World is Possible; Another US is Necessary – the United States Social Forum

“Our Youth is not the Future, Our Youth is the Present” – Julian Moya, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), Albuquerque, New Mexico

“We cannot choose the historical conditions we find ourselves in, but we can choose how we respond to them” – Ajamu Baraka, Director, U.S. Human Rights Network, Atlanta, Georgia

These two quotes, among many other hopeful messages I heard at the U.S. Social Forum (USSF) from June 27 to July 1, 2007 in Atlanta epitomized for me the USSF – what it stands for and envisions in terms of a different kind of United States. Both represent the truth embedded in the official slogan of the USSF – Another World is Possible; Another US is Necessary.

River Rerouting in Brazil: Reinventing a Broken Wheel

1,200 indigenous people, fishermen and peasant farmers occupied the construction site of a major river rerouting project of the São Francisco river in protest. Members of different organizations and social movements in northeast Brazil are demanding that the federal government stop the implementation of this project and guarantee indigenous people’s land rights in the area.

“We are being evicted from our land for this by people who are not concerned with the river or with the livelihood of our families” said Neguinho Truká, leader of the Truká ethnic group.

Join Grassroots International at the United States Social Forum, Atlanta, June 27-30

Please join Grassroots International at the United States Social Forum, Atlanta, June 27-30, 2007. The US Social Forum is more than a conference, more than a networking bonanza, more than a reaction to war and repression, more than a collection of local solutions. It's an important moment to further build the global movement for social justice.

Towards a Green Food System: How Food Sovereignty Can Save the Environment and Feed the World

Grassroots International and Food and Water Watch teamed up to issue an informative and compelling report that shows how food sovereignty will not only benefit small farmers all over the world, but will also give environmentalists and consumers what "free” trade and bad farm policies have failed to deliver. Conventional agriculture is a major cause of global warming, and as Congress and the United Nations grapple with a new environmental treaty, a strong food sovereignty movement is more critical than ever. Please read the report to find out more about this remarkable movement, how bridges can be built, and why the time to work together has arrived.

Backroom Deal with the Administration Hurts Farmers & Workers at Home and Abroad

Reports about a backroom deal between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Charles Rangel and the White House on "fast track" -- the authorization the President sought to extend that gives him power to practically bypass Congress on free trade deals because it can only vote on and cannot amend the deals President makes -- in return for concessions in other areas were floating around Washington for some time. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's Dennis Olson and Alexandra Spieldoch report on what this means for agriculture, here in the U.S. and in the global South.