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By Jake Miller
August 31st, 2007
[George Naylor, President of the National Family Farm Coalition, continues his report from the Via Campesina's forum on Agrofuels and Food Sovereignty (August 30-31, 2007) with an update on the presentations he's heard. --Ed.]
What I´ve heard here is that multinational corporations and governments intend to provide our energy-insatiable economies (especially in the US and Europe) with agrofuels, even though demand could never be met and monocropping will foreclose food sovereignty and biodiversity.
George Naylor, President of the National Family Farm Coalition sent us a note from the Via Campesina's International Forum on Agrofuels and Food Sovereignty. The forum, which features farmer and peasant activists from around the world, is taking place today and tomorrow in Mexico City. The race to convert acres from food to fuel crops in Mexico, Brazil and the United States has many, including us here at Grassroots, concerned. We fear that pursuing the industrial scale agrofuel model will worsen hunger, speed up destruction of the natural environment and the fertility of farmland and destroy local communities and ways of life that, once gone, can never be brought back.
We can do it with your help.
There are promising signs that this crucial legislation may pass the Senate, but we need your help to make it happen. Every call counts as the Farm Bill gets closer to a vote.
Call your Senators now and ask them to support food aid that works.
The Nyeleni communications team just sent us a link to a very inspirational video, a trailer for a documentary on the global food sovereignty movement and Nyeleni 2007, the Forum for Food Sovereigty.
The video is subtitled in Spanish, but for those who don't speak Spanish, many of the interviews were conducted in English.
The New York Times reports today that, "CARE, one of the world's biggest charities, is walking away from some $45 million a year in federal financing, saying American food aid is not only plagued with inefficiencies, but also may hurt some of the very poor people it aims to help." (CARE Turns Down Federal Funds for Food Aid)
By Daniel Moss
July 28th, 2007
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: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.”