Sustainable Livelihoods

Indigenous Kaiowá in Brazil Pledge ‘Collective Death’ to Defend Ancestral Territory

Leaders of the Guarani Kaiowá boldly announced that the entire community would rather die in their land defending from businesses and corporations. Their assertion is more than a war declaration. For us, the buyers of “clean energy,” their pronouncement is a jarring wake-up call that the “Green Economy” actually promotes genocide of indigenous people and Afro-descendent communities –whether in the form of a slow die off of disposed peoples or a quicker resistance.

Rehabilitating Haiti’s Central Plateau Through Agroecology and Water Access

The Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP) is one example of the amazing work peasant organizations are doing across rural communities in Haiti. In those communities, peasant organizations are working hard with limited resources. While post-2010 earthquake relief funds from big international funders (like USAID) are being squandered building large industrial complexes on productive agricultural land, peasant organizations are planting trees to stave off soil erosion, preserving Creole seeds to ensure seed sovereignty for future generations, and improving access to life-giving water.

Who Fishes Matters

I recently had a chance to interview Grassroots International friend and ally Niaz Dorry, Executive Director of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA). The organization brings together fishing communities in Grassroots’ own backyard (from southern New England up to Atlantic Canada). As a self-organizing and self-governing organization, NAMA seeks to restore and enhance an enduring marine system supporting a healthy diversity and an abundance of marine life and human uses.  NAMA is a member of Grassroots’ the National Family Farm Coalition (a Grassroots’ grantee), which in turn a member and anchor group of the Via Campesina (a Grassroots’ partner).  I’m happy to share highlights of this interview during the month of World Fisheries Day (November 21).

Hurricane Sandy Washes Away Haitian Livelihoods

Hurricane and Superstorm Sandy caused billions in damages from the Caribbean to Canada, killed more than 100 people and left many in its wake without basic necessities. For those of us who live in countries where our cities, states, and federal governments have the resources to tackle complex emergencies, the return to normal life, though unimaginable now, will slowly unfurl.

National Confederation of Peasant Organizations (CNTC)

The National Confederation of Peasant Organizations (CNTC) was formed on January 21, 1985 as part of a unifying strategy of five peasant organizations in Honduras. A self-identified peasant organization CNTC advocates for rural development policies that address the social, cultural and economic rights of peasant families. To accomplish that goal, CNTC supports the leadership development of peasants in decision-making spaces, and establishes strategic alliances at national and international levels with these objectives:

No Olive Branches Here: Settler Violence Threatens the Olive Harvest in the West Bank

Israeli settler violence against Palestinians and their property, which escalated this summer, is on the rise again with this October’s olive harvest season in the West Bank. Officials from the United Nations as well as activists in Palestine and Israel are calling on Israeli forces to intervene to stop the violence.

Korean Women Peasant’s Association Awarded the Food Sovereignty Prize

Last Wednesday, October 10th, in New York City, I had the privilege of witnessing the US Food Sovereignty Alliance award the fourth annual Food Sovereignty Prize to the Korean Women Peasant’s Association (KWPA).

The Anti-Walmart Motto

If Walmart really tried, I doubt they could have picked a slogan more completely counter to the wisdom, values and insights of global movements of small farmers and indigenous peoples.

The difference between "Live better" (Walmart's latest slogan) and "living well" (the organizing principle of small farmers around the world) means the difference between personal success and community contentment.

And whereas Walmart wants to “Save money,” indigenous and peasant groups in the Global South want to save the planet through grassroots alternatives to corporate globalization.

 

Will the U.S. Drought and Tropical Storm Isaac Trigger a Food Crisis in Haiti?

The United States is facing its worst drought in nearly 50 years. Not alone in its extreme weather, parts of Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia (especially India) and South America are in the same boat. And while the drought certainly affects people in these nations directly, the impact may be felt as much – if not more – in the small Caribbean nation of Haiti, for reasons as complex and numerous as import-dependent food systems, lack of agricultural investment, and just plain bad luck and timing (from earthquakes to floods to global climate disruption).