By Jake Miller
August 20th, 2006
On our way back from a tour of the enormous hydro-electric dam here in Paulo Alfonso this afternoon, Saulo Araujo and I stopped at a small pond covered with water lilies and what looked to my North-American eyes like duckweed. I was delighted to see dozens of Jacanas and gallinules feeding in the weeds and just as we were about to leave an Amazon Kingfisher flew out from the trees on the edge and dove into the pond for a fish.
Last month, 300 women and men from quilombos of the Brazilian southeastern state of Espírito Santo reclaimed a parcel of ancestral land from ARACRUZ Cellulose, a Norwegian-based corporation, according reports from the Anti-Green Desserts Network. The land is part of the former Linharinho quilombo. Two of Grassroots International's Brazilian partners, the Landless Movement (MST) and the Movement of Small Farmers (MPA), supported the initiative of the quilombolas in Espirito Santo.
A few years ago I was driving around lost on the Olympic Peninsula. I was in a hurry, trying to make my way to Hurricane Ridge overlook in the Olympic Mountains in time to see the sunset. When I figured out where I'd gone wrong, I made a u-turn and I almost didn't stop at the little farm stand that caught my eyes both times I drove by it, but I decided that maybe the forces of serendipity had sent me on that detour just so that I could try the local fruit.
I bought a few peaches--individually nestled in extra-large egg carton type material--and a pint of cherries, and chatted with the folks on the other side of the table for a few moments, about the growing season (it seemed late for peaches to me), about the other crops they grow, what a lovely day it was, that kind of thing.
April 26th, 2006
Many things have changed in the Gaza Strip since Hamas won the elections in January 2006 according to the public will. The E.U. and U.S.
Editor's Note: Daniel Moss sent this post from Jacmel, a city south of Port au Prince on the Caribbean coast. They visited the small town of La Fond on 21st, the day of the national parliamentary elections.
Please join me in a jeep bumping over river stones with Vigot, an agronomist from KROS, the Regional Coordination of Southeast Organizations. As part of its Resource Rights Initiative, Grassroots International staff visited this remote area to observe up close the work of Haiti's regional peasant associations.
On Monday, April 17 movements all over the world kicked off global mobilizations and actions in support of peasants' struggles for land, water and food rights.
The Via Campesina, an international movement of family farmers, landless workers, fisher folk and women's and indigenous' organizations, designated April 17th the International Day of Peasant Struggle to commemorate the 1996 Massacre in Carajas, Brazil. The incident resulted in the murders of 19 members of the Landless Workers' Movement (MST), a member of the Via Campesina and a Grassroots partner.
"Farm to Cafeteria" is a wonderful idea being promoted by a large number of organizations representing family farmers, farm workers, children's and youth advocates, environmental, health and hunger activists, organic consumers, faith-based groups and others, including Grassroots International, the National Family Farm Coalition, the Rural Coalition, the Organic Consumers Association and the Community Food Security Coalition.
March 28th, 2006 —On March 8th, International Women's Day, a group of more than 1,200 women from the Via Campesina took action to denounce the environmental and social injustice committed by corporations and a global agrarian policy that puts the needs of the market ahead of the needs of people. These corporations use vast tracts of land in Brazil for plantations of eucalyptus and pine to produce paper and lumber for export. The Movement of Women Peasants in Brazil points out that this monoculture creates "green deserts" that actually increase poverty instead of reducing it. As the members of the women's movement say, "We want land to grow food. We don't eat eucalyptus."
"Dead people live here" said my niece Anisha matter of factly, as only a 6-7 year old would, while we drove by a cemetery near her home in Erie, Pennsylvania some years ago.
And on my first full day in Jerusalem Anisha's voice rang in my ears. That innocent remark carries a lot more weight here in Jerusalem.