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By Shannon Duncan Bodwell
June 3rd, 2013
On May 25 activists, farmers and consumers in 52 countries and 436 cities around the world united to March Against Monsanto. The grassroots Facebook campaign was started by Tami Monroe Canal who wanted to protect her two daughters. “I feel Monsanto threatens their generation’s health, fertility and longevity,” said Tami.
By Antonio Roman-Alcalá
May 31st, 2013
In the article below, Antonio Roman-Alcalá discusses what food sovereignty is, how it differs from food security and how the food movement is shifting the conversation toward sovereignty. Along with our partner the Via Campesina—which pioneered the concept of food sovereignty in 1996—Grassroots International has been advocating this alternative model around the world. As explained in the recent Nyeleni newsletter,
Food sovereignty is different from food security in both approach and politics. Food security does not distinguish where food comes from, or the conditions under which it is produced and distributed. National food security targets are often met by sourcing food produced under environmentally destructive and exploitative conditions, and supported by subsidies and policies that destroy local food producers but benefit agribusiness corporations. Food sovereignty emphasizes ecologically appropriate production, distribution and consumption, social-economic justice and local food systems as ways to tackle hunger and poverty and guarantee sustainable food security for all peoples. It advocates trade and investment that serve the collective aspirations of society. It promotes community control of productive resources; agrarian reform and tenure security for small-scale producers; agro-ecology; biodiversity; local knowledge; the rights of peasants, women, indigenous peoples and workers; social protection and climate justice.
On May 13, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of agro-chemical giant Monsanto and against small farmers on a seed patent case. This is just another example of the attacks faced by small farmers around the world. Our global partners have been fighting against international corporations like Monsanto for years—in Haiti, Mexico, and right here in the United States.
On this Earth Day, I’m inspired to share a story of the Black Mesa Water Coalition (BMWC). One of Grassroots International’s US allies, BMWC organizes in indigenous communities, going up against powerful corporate interests in the fossil fuel industry, and engaging in movement building toward a vision for a transition to an economically and ecologically just society.
The real costs of the industrial food system on people’s lives and the planet are as extensive as they are hidden. The article below by long-time Grassroots International friends, Beverley Bell and Tory Field of Other Worlds, offers a thought-provoking summary of those costs—all of which challenge small farmers in the Global South on a daily basis.
The True Costs of Industrialized Food
January 28, 2013 was marked around the world as an International Day of Solidarity with Idle No More, a movement sparked in November 2012 by First Nations women in Canada, in resistance to legislative threats to indigenous sovereignty. One particular piece of legislation which Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is promoting, Bill C-45, would nullify provisions of provisions of the Navigable Waters Protection Act which since 1882 has mandated consultation and approval by First Nations for projects that could affect waterways on indigenous territories.
Grassroots International supports hands-on solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges: hunger, violations of human rights, climate change and environmental degradation, and economic disparity. During the last year, Grassroots International and our global partners and allies – including small farmers, indigenous peoples and human rights activists – achieved some victories in their struggle to secure the human right to land, water and food for all. Below are just some of the highlights.
In addition to Grassroots International’s role as a grantmaker to social movements across the world, we also understand that financial support alone does not bring about change.
We hear about the dire consequences of misdirected U.S. trade and agriculture policies from our partners around the world – hunger, water and land shortages, environmental degradation, and climate disruption. We are also able see to how organized communities are challenging these problems and offering up effective solutions. Finally, we know that the struggle for social change and justice brings activists into direct confrontation with powerful forces that threaten human rights and livelihoods.
Recently David Bacon, whose work amplifies the voices of those who otherwise might be unheard, shared the story of Lorena Hernandez. Lorena is a single mother and farmworker laboring in California’s agricultural fields. Like so many other women whose stories need to be heard, Lorena describes the physical violence caused by economic exploitation, and hunger.