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By Daniel Moss
December 18th, 2007
The U.S. Senate ignored the wishes of 4 million Peruvian farmers and countless numbers of American family farmers, ranchers, and consumers earlier this month when it voted to create a new Peru Free Trade Agreement (Peru FTA). The agreement, modeled on failed free trade policies such as NAFTA and CAFTA, will allow American agribusinesses to dump tons of below-cost commodities such as corn and soybeans into the Peruvian economy, thereby creating unfair competition for Peruvian farmers. It will also allow Peru to flood the U.S. market with cheap fruits and vegetables at a time when American family farmers are trying to build sustainable food systems by offering affordable local produce to consumers.
By Saulo Araujo
November 28th, 2007
In times of war and institutionalized terrorism, examples of solidarity between people in the United States and the Global South give us hope for a better world. In fact, it is only through solidarity with people that we will never actually meet that we can build the "global movement for social justice".
Here is a case that has re-energized us at Grassroots International this end of year.
Last spring, Grassroots made a brief presentation to students of Boston's Philbrick School about our work to support rural communities throughout the globe to reclaim their rights to land, water and food.
Wisconsin based Family Farm Defenders (FFD) is a leading member of Grassroots International's ally National Family Farm Coalition. FFD was formed in 1994 and works to create a family farmer-controlled and consumer oriented food system, and has been a leading ally of farm workers and minority farmers including indigenous farmers. John Peck, the executive director of FFD recently wrote an article warning against the threat of agrofuels for family farmers in the Global South and here in the U.S.
Sin maíz no hay país is the resounding clarion call given by Grassroots International’s Mexican partners, grantees and their allies in rolling out the National Campaign in Defense of Food Sovereignty and the Revitalization of Rural Mexico.
Corn is indigenous to Mexico, and the alliance of peasant, farm worker, indigenous peoples, fisher, consumer, environmental and human rights groups and other organizations that came together to declare sin maíz no hay país are making the point that corn is intrinsically tied to the very idea and identity of Mexico.
This report, which documents the human and environmental costs of the industiral biofuel model in Latin America, is the result of a seminar about the expansion of sugarcane plantations in Central and South America. The seminar, which took place in São Paulo, Brazil, from February 26-28, 2007 was organized by Brazil's Pastoral Land Commission and Grassroots' Partner, The Social Network for Justice and Human Rights.
World Food Day was recently observed around the world with people everywhere taking the opportunity to organize and act on our obligations to ensure "The Right to Food." Here in the United States, the Right to Food is as relevant as anywhere, especially in light of our recent imported food safety crisis that is causing many citizens to question their grocery purchases.
"Punjabis are poisoning themselves" declared the Economist not too long ago, quipping that the poster child of India's green revolution is now "in the throes of a grey revolution." We take heart that the Economist, a cheerleader for "free trade" and neoliberal economic policies, is raising questions about policies that have caused massive environmental degradation and serious public health consequences for India's bread basket state.
Over the last few months, we've reported on the damaging impact of agrofuels on human rights, the environment and food security.
Private security forces hired by the multinational agribusiness Syngenta shot and killed Valmir Motta de Olivera, a leader of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) and the Via Campesina during a direct action protest on Sunday, Oct 21 in the southern Brazilian state of Paraná. Eight other protestors were wounded in the attack. The landless workers were occupying the site, where Syngenta runs field trials for genetically modified seeds. The land borders an ecologically important national park area, and the Via have proposed that the land be developed instead as a center for agroecology and creole seed production.
More and more people around the world are taking up the call by peasant and small farmers, indigenous peoples and pastoralists for food sovereignty as an expression of, and a way to realize the right to food. Earlier this year members of the Via Campesina and other organizations met in Mali to put in motion an action plan for achieving food sovereignty. On October 16th, World Food Day, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) endorsed food sovereignty as the right to food. As IFOAM notes, food sovereignty as the right to food means the right to feed oneself as opposed to the right to be fed.