By Nikhil Aziz
October 18th, 2009
October 17th is marked as by the United Nations as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. At Grassroots International, we have been working with our partners for over 25 years towards achieving that goal. Clearly, a lot needs to be done to get us there.
The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) recently published a report on the country’s agricultural sector. The last report had been published in 1996. The new document supports several points raised by peasant organizations, such as our partner the Via Campesina International, around the critical role of the small scale agriculture to climate justice and hunger. The main points are outlined below.
Today is World Food Day!
World Food Day is celebrated every year on October 16 – the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. World Food Day raises awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger. This year's theme for World Food Day is "Achieving food security in times of crisis."
A critical issue related to food and agriculture that is finally gaining more attention is climate change. Industrial agriculture contributes significantly to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions.
By Daniel Moss
September 23rd, 2009
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.
Earlier this week, the BBC produced a shocking article: “Eyewitness: Guatemala food crisis.” The piece exposes the sad reality that haunts families throughout the country, particularly those in indigenous and peasant communities. I also encountered this dire situation -- children dying of starvation and many others suffering from hunger-related diseases -- during my visit to Guatemala last April, when I heard from our local partners that many peasant communities were showing signs of a food shortage.
This is the time of year when gardeners start to reap their rewards—fruits and vegetables that make for a healthy feast. But for the people of Gaza, gardens produce a serving of self-sufficiency, too.
Urban gardens usually bring to mind savvy urbanites indulging in an organic lifestyle—witness Michelle Obama and her model urban garden at the White House. Although urban gardens in the West may not be a total indulgence—Ms.
The Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) of Brazil, which has mobilized more than a million Brazilians to occupy and farm large landholdings, was cautiously optimistic when Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva of the Workers Party won the presidency in 2002. “We campaign for Lula,” remarked MST organizer Jonas da Silva (no relation) during the campaign, “even though we are critical of him for shaping his discourse for the middle class.” In the country with perhaps the most unequal land distribution in the world, electing a pro-worker, pro-poor president marked a potential turning point.
But as Lula finishes up his second term (new presidential elections take place in October 2010), the MST’s assessment is grim. Land redistribution has stagnated, the government continues to b
Ahmed Sourani is the Director of Projects & Cooperation for the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC). PARC is a longtime partner of Grassroots International and perhaps the most important player in the Palestinian agricultural sector. PARC focuses its work in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on rural development including food security, income generation, water rights and protecting against land confiscation by Israel; environmental protection; and strengthening women's position in society.
Last April my colleague Saulo Araujo (Program Coordinator for Brazil & Mesoamerica) and I visited Honduras. What impressed us the most was the strength and vibrancy of social movements, like our partners the Via Campesina (Central America) and COCOCH (the Honduran Coordinating Council of Peasant Organizations), and our allies like COPINH (Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras) and OFRANEH (Honduran Black Fraternal Organization). And especially the strong and resilient women in the forefront of struggle. Afro-Hondurans like Leoncia and Wendy, Lencas like Pasqualita, and Mestizo women like Analina and Berta
At a candidates forum convened by the Via every single presidential candidate attended.