Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO)
By Carol Schachet
January 23rd, 2014
The term peasant often conjures up images of medieval serfs out of touch with the ways of the world around them. Such thinking is out of date. Today, peasants proudly and powerfully put forward effective strategies to feed the planet and limit the damages wrought by industrial agriculture. What’s more, they understand the connections between complex trade and economic systems, champion the rights of women, and even stand up for the rights of gay men and lesbians.
These are not your great ancestors’ peasants.
By Carol Schachet
October 31st, 2013
Carlos Henríquez can talk about fertilizer for hours. He knows what mix of ingredients will help certain crops grow better, the right “recipe” for creating well-balanced compost and fertilizers, the best ways to keep moisture in the soil even in dry spells.
In an unprecedented move last week, a Federal Mexican Tribunal suspended authorization for the planting of all genetically modified corn by transnational corporations such as Monsanto, Pioneer and Syngenta. The Tribunal recognized the legal interests of 53 individuals and 20 civil associations that filed a class action lawsuit against the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, the federal government and the transnational corporations that applied for permits to plant transgenic corn. While this decision is not a permanent one, it is a groundbreaking victory in preventing commercial GMO plantations until the collective action lawsuit is resolved.
“¡La Tierra No Se Vende – Se Ama y Se Defiende!” (English translation: “The Land is Not for Sale – It must be Loved and Defended!”)
– A change from woman fighting against a large dam in Alpuyeca, Mexico
They cross borders to survive.
Young people, like Ponciano Perez, 19, left, take the long north-bound journey from Mexico, seeking an opportunity in the United States. The trip can take several weeks or months. Without money to pay bus fare, some travel on foot to the border. Too often, the journey does not go as planned – meet the wrong people and they strip you from anything you have.
Back home, family members do not hear from their loved ones for months. They just hope for the better: a call or information that everything is okay and some money will arrive soon. In the best-case scenario, some money will arrive but at the cost of not seeing their children for years.
Grassroots International, Partners and Allies Speak about Resource Rights and the Food Crisis in San Francisco
Grassroots International partner Aldo Gonzalez from the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO) joined us in the San Francisco Bay Area at the end of January for a week of meetings, conferences and public events. UNOSJO is an indigenous-led organization working with Zapotec communities to build local autonomy and to increase food security in the Juarez mountains of northern Oaxaca, Mexico.
Chances are, the average U.S. resident has no idea that their demand for electricity might require that a Mexican village be flooded for a hydroelectric dam. The question is: if the human cost were known, would we consume just a little bit less?
At Grassroots International, our bet is that a little bit of knowledge would go a long way. For those who value human rights, that high social and environmental cost is not likely to sit right.
Our unabashedly biased perspective is based upon the way we’ve worked for more than a quarter century: offering financial support to communities around the world whose natural resources have been extracted and despoiled and sharing their stories in living rooms, community centers and across cyberspace.