As part of our commitment to engage in advocacy to challenge US policy and corporations that are often the root causes of resource rights violations around the world, Grassroots International has been proud to be an active member of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance even before its launch last October. The US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) is excited to promote and take part in two upcoming international days of action: April 17 and May 1.
On April 17, family farmers and peasant organizations worldwide will take action for food sovereignty, rights to land, water, and more. In the United States, members of the USFSA are planning actions across the country, including a major one in Chicago to protest corporate speculation in agriculture. Following are a few excerpts from the USFSAs recent call to action: Coming out of the great democratic upsurge in Wisconsin, where workers and farmers stood together, small-scale farmers and peasants are joining with food and farmworkers to support food sovereignty and are asking for your solidarity against the policies and practices that are hurting us all. APRIL 17 – INTERNATIONAL DAY of PEASANT STRUGGLES On April 17, people worldwide celebrate the struggle of peasants and rural people to survive and to feed the world while commemorating the 1996 death of 19 farmers in Brazil assassinated while struggling for land and dignity. More than 100 events occur each year to defend a food system based on food sovereignty, justice and equality, small-scale farming, agro-ecology and local production. Governments can support this paradigm by giving farmers access to land, water, seeds, credit and education, and by protecting them from cheap imports, creating public or farmer-owned stocks and managing production. Food sovereignty would provide livelihoods to billions of people and reduce poverty, particularly in rural areas where 75 percent of the 1.4 billion people suffering from extreme poverty reside.
One of several events commemorating April 17 includes:
Friday, April 15, Chicago, IL – Family Farm Defenders and American Raw Milk Producers Pricing Association led food and social activists on a noon rally and protest of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange/Board of Trade against corporate speculation of agricultural commodities
Recognizing the intersections between food sovereignty, workers rights, and immigrant rights, members of the USFSA (including the Food Chain Workers Alliance) are also mobilizing toward events on May 1, International Workers Day: The US Food Sovereignty Alliance calls on all those who are struggling for food sovereignty to participate in May 1st actions in their local communities. May 1st is International Workers Day. In the U.S., this day has also become a day of mobilization for immigrant workers’ rights and legalization for undocumented workers. Millions of small farmers and peasants around the globe have been displaced from their land because of the corporate takeover of agriculture in their home country and by unfair trade policies that allow cheap food products to be dumped into their country. Because of this loss of their land, millions are forced to become economic refugees and many end up coming to the U.S., looking for a way to support themselves and their families. Millions end up as workers in the U.S. food system – farmworkers, meatpacking workers, restaurant workers, and more. The food system exploits these immigrants and people of color – 5 of the 8 worst-paying jobs in the U.S. are in the food system. Therefore, as part of our commitment to dismantling racism and to struggle for justice and equality in the food system, the US Food Sovereignty Alliance therefore calls on everyone to mobilize on May 1st. To find a May 1st event in your area, go to www.maydayunited.org and www.reformimmigrationforamerica.org These days of action mark an important stage in the development of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance. After months of deep, deliberate work and consultations to develop collective principles and organizational structure, these actions represent a kind of coming out for the growing alliance. They demonstrate a clear analysis of the interconnectedness of social movement demands, and most importantly, an ability to put the alliances analysis and principles into practice. Grassroots International is proud to be part of such an inspiring group! For more information about the USFSA, Founding Principles, and organizational membership information, click here.