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By Sara Mersha
December 12th, 2011
As UN negotiators sat in their air conditioned rooms during the last official day of the United Nations climate negotiations, I had a chance to visit a community in Pateque, Mozambique. I spoke with members of the National Peasants Union (UNAC), a member organization of the Via Campesina. They described the ways they have been impacted by climate change: the summer is hotter than they can ever remember, and they showed me large tracts of empty land where the sun had burned many of their crops (including tomatoes and cucumbers).
By Salena Tramel
November 23rd, 2011
Nyéléni, Mali – 19 November 2011
The first time I shared a meal with Raji Sourani was at a seaside restaurant in Gaza City. A lawyer and longtime director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), a Grassroots International partner, Sourani is well known throughout Palestine for his quick and sound judgment—which showed when he ordered some of the best shellfish in the Strip for both of us before I had even finished scanning the menu.
“You can’t visit Gaza without eating this shrimp,” he said when our dish arrived. Plumes of shisha smoke billowed around us, and classical Lebanese chords interchanged with lively Egyptian tunes. He was right: the food was nearly as enjoyable as his company.
October 13th, 2011
The Community Food Security Coalition and the US Food Sovereignty Alliance will announce on World Food Day, October 16th 2011 that the Landless Workers Movement of Brazil (MST) has been awarded the 2011 Food Sovereignty Prize. The MST is a Grassroots International partner and member of the Via Campesina.
Grassroots International partner and leading peasant movement, the Via Campesina produced a new video presenting its struggle for peasant's agriculture and food sovereignty all around the world. The 20-minute film interviews farmers, land activists and movement participants from across the world discussing what food sovereignty means to them, and how small farmers can provide solutions to global hunger and climate disruption.
In order to fix the broken food system, we need to de-colonize our minds. What do I mean about "de-colonize"? To understand that, do this short exercise. What comes to your mind, when you hear the word “Agriculture?” Is it a tree, a head of lettuce or vast endless fields somewhere in the US Midwest?
If the first thing came to your mind was a vast field of a single crop (such as endless rows of corn), you are certainly not alone. For decades, both consumers and farmers have been educated to think of agriculture as an industry of monocrops. The end of small, integrated farm plots (i.e. real food) coincided with the advent of industrial agriculture and the launch of the “Green Revolution.”
Bev Bell, a long time Grassroots International ally, recently published the article below, which describes a Learning Exchange program between Brazil and Haiti, supported by Grassroots International. Bev has worked with Haitian social movements, including many of Grassroots International’s partners, for decades. This piece describes the dynamic cross-border collaboration between partners in Haiti and Brazil. Jose Luis Patrola of the Landless Workers Movement puts it well: "We're not here to teach, we're here to learn." He also acknowledged the financial support provided by Grassroots that helped make the Haiti-Brazil learning exchange happen. Perhaps it’s largely true, as noted by Patrola, that social movements have forgotten the concept of internationalism.