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By Simone Adler and Beverly Bell
January 6th, 2016
Everybody originated with indigenous ways of living and the way of Mother Earth.
The real role of women is in the seed. It is the women who harvest, select, store, and plant seeds. Our seeds come from our mothers and our grandmothers. To us, the seed is the symbol of the continuity of life. Seed is not just about the crops. Seed is about the soil, about the water, and about the forest.
When we plant our seeds, we don’t just plant them anytime or anywhere. We listen to our elders, who teach us about the ecological calendar. The seed follows this natural ecological flow. When it bears another seed, that one is planted and the cycle continues.
If you cut the cycle of the seed, you cut the cycle of life.
By Carol Schachet
January 5th, 2016
Palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet, with some 50 million metric tons produced annually. High demand for the product is leading to the growth of African Palm plantations in Central America, which, in turn, is fueling environmental destruction, the exploitation of agricultural labor, and the displacement of local peasant farmers by companies often financed by development banks.
Monsoon rains are a key part of the ecosystem in India, with whole regions depending on the seasonal monsoons for their water throughout the year. But this season’s monsoon brought a downpour of historic magnitude in the state of Tamil Nadu, destroying tens of thousands of homes and livelihoods.
This is what the destructiveness of climate change looks like.
Tamil Nadu usually gets around 13 inches of rain in the summer and around 18 inches of rain in the fall. This year following average summer rains came unprecedented rainfall starting in late October, and it just didn’t let up. In just a single day in early December Tamil Nadu received an unbelievable 21 inches of rain.
Descendents of escapees from African slave ships and indigenous communities, the Garifuna people live on the Atlantic coast of Honduras. Their beautiful seascape and ecologically rich lands have attracted aggressive interest from foreign investors for plans ranging from tourist resorts to mining to industrial agriculture.
Food sovereignty can transform local, national, and regional markets to support countries’ domestic economies and allow us to create wealth, both in production and knowledge.
Building Global Food Sovereignty
Current international debates on feeding the world center on financial viability and making global agriculture profitable. Production is oriented towards international markets, which compromise the food sovereignty of many countries.
No country can survive orienting itself towards international markets because producers don’t decide the price. States give money to banks to support agroindustry, which is exploiting the population.
With drums, solidarity, art and action, members of the World March of Women gathered in Cajamarca, Peru this October. This gathering of one hundred women from Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Quebec, United States and Venezuela marked the fourth regional meeting of the World March of Women of the Americas. This also marked the first regional meeting that included representation from the newly formed US chapter of the World March of Women (of which Grassroots International is a member).
The regional meeting consisted of building analysis and strategy, sharing stories and culture, and taking to the streets to march in solidarity with the struggles of the women of Cajamarca.
At least 35 percent of women and girls globally experience some form of physical or sexual violence, according to the United Nations. On this November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November, Grassroots International joins our global partners in mobilizing to strengthen the struggle and resistance around to systems that exploit women and remove them from their homes, creates wars and militarizes civilian territories. As La Via Campesina rightly states, “It is urgent to build new human relationships that are founded on gender justice and equal rights.”
Our farmer-managed seed systems in Africa are being criminalized and displaced by a very aggressive green revolution project of corporate occupation by big multinational companies. This violent agrarian transformation is facing profound objection.
Traditional, small-holder peasant agriculture is done by women. Women are the ones who save the seeds – the soul of the peasant population. This is to honor what women have inherited from their ancestors: the conservation of seeds as part of their knowledge to care for the whole family and nourish their communities.
The green revolution introduced GMOs in Africa. Technicians and researchers come to tell our producers about agriculture from the outside.