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By Jake Miller
September 4th, 2007
[This is a final report by George Naylor, President of the National Family Farm Coalition from the Via Campesina's International Forum on Agrofuels and Food Sovereignty, August 30-31, 2007 in Mexico City. --Ed.]
Would it seem strange to you if your country had become dependent on food imports, but your government starts promoting the idea that the agricultural system needs to produce agrofuel, too?
How about if 3.5 million of your fellow citizens migrated out of the country since 2000, many because they could no longer make a living on the farm?
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.
I recently traveled to Iowa to visit an ethanol plant. Over the din of the machinery, here are the sounds that I heard:
Glub, glub. The plant consumes over a million kilos of corn per day. That's good news for area farmers especially as the price has almost doubled due to high demand. The bad news is that our current agricultural system is petroleum-soaked. Chemical pesticides and fertilizers, machinery, irrigation pumps, and grain transport all depend on the stuff. Sustainable Table reports that each acre of corn, just in chemical pesticides and fertilizers, requires 5.5 gallons of petroleum.
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).
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.
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.
Today, March 6th, Grassroots International received an announcement from the Via Campesina Brazil. The women of the Via Campesina Brazil are honoring International Women's Day by organizing land occupations and protests against large Brazilian and transnational corporations who own and exploit huge tracts of Brazilian land and labor for monocultured cultivation of trees for cellulose for export. The women refer to these huge tracts of land planted only with such trees as the "green deserts" of Brazil - green deserts because they produce no food and very little employment, and are also environmentally damaging. Please read the announcement of our partners below:
The ability to provide food and a healthy environment for oneself and one’s family—including future generations—is fundamental for a dignified life. Honoring the knowledge, culture and desires of the world’s vast rural majority, who make up 80% of the world’s most impoverished people, Grassroots supports local community-led sustainable development projects that advance democratic access to and management of crucial local food production and the right to natural resources; and serve as an entry point for organizing.
Photographs by Jennifer Lemire for Grassroots International