Grassroots International

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  • The People Affected by the Belo Monte Dam: A Photo Blog

    According to our partner the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), approximately 10,000 families in the city of Altamira in Brazil will be directly affected by the flooding and subsequent lake created from the construction of the Belo Monte mega-dam. Meanwhile Norte Energia, the company responsible for this mega-project, has only built 4,100 poorly-constructed houses for the displaced without any other infrastructure like schools, medical facilities, and public transportation for the displaced communities. These are only a few of the reasons is why hundreds of people came together on March 11 to protest against the Belo Monte dam.

  • Black Lives Matter: Police Repression, the US, and the Political Crisis in Haiti

    In the United States we’ve spent months zeroing in on the reality of police brutality against Black people.  We’ve been grateful to see and take part in a growing movement that addresses structural racism—pointing out that Black people are disproportionately more likely to die at the hands of police, face institutional racism, and breathe more polluted air. 

    In the Black nation of Haiti, too, there has been a systematic dismissal of the value of Black lives and US policy has been deeply implicated in interventions that slaughter the interests of Haiti’s people in favor of a narrow elite.

  • Africa not a Blank Slate, Farmers Already have Solutions

    Contrary to Western assertions, Africa is not a blank slate.

    Africans have a long history of vibrant culture, politics, economics and agriculture. However, since Europe’s first encounter with Africa through present day, international “decisionmakers” have approached the African continent as though it was devoid of people along with history. Africa is imagined out of context, and those projections become the basis for policy.

    In our times, the battle for Africa is being waged one plot of agricultural land at a time. Control of Africa’s food system is being wrested away from peasant farmers and being turned over to agribusinesses such as Monsanto under the guise of agricultural development.

  • 300 scientists and legal experts: « No scientific consensus on GMO safety »

    In yet another setback for the claims by Monsanto and other biotech giants that GMOs are safe, a group of 300 scientists and legal experts have recently found that there is no consensus on GMO safety, and that claims to the contrary are misleading. As one scientist who was originally involved in the creation of GMO tomatoes now puts it, to assume there is scientific consensus is little more than wishful thinking.  The following is the statement, which Grassroots International signed onto, from the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER).

     

    No scientific consensus on GMO safety statement published in peer-reviewed journal

     

  • Will ICC Investigate Abuses of Israeli Occupation?

    Is it possible to hold Israel accountable for its violations of Palestinians’ human rights, and thus take steps to end at least some of the worst aspects of the Israeli occupation, through the arena of international law?  That’s a question that could be answered in the coming years.

    On January 16, 2015, the International Criminal Court launched a preliminary investigation into possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.  This is an initial inquiry, after which point the ICC could decide whether or not to take up a full investigation.

  • Glendive Oilspill on the Land of Via Campesina Leader

    The toxic oil spill in eastern Montana oozed onto the land of one of Grassroots International’s partners and a fierce voice for food sovereignty and environmental justice.  Now her denunciations of the gluttonous crude industry and on behalf of small farmers and the environment are reaching far and wide, but at a terrible price.

  • They Uproot and We Plant: Olive Trees and Resistance in Palestine

    Last week we got word that settlers had destroyed hundreds of olive trees very near to the area in the Southern Hebron Hills where Grassroots International’s delegation to Palestine harvested olives in October.  Similar acts of violence by settlers are a reality that Palestinian farmers face day in and day out throughout the occupied Palestinian territories and a painful reminder of the impact of the settlers on stolen land.  

  • Stories of Victory and Struggle from 2014

    Grassroots International and our global partners are leading the way in developing sustainable solutions to the biggest challenges facing our world. From farming cooperatives and seed banks, to passing laws that protect ancestral lands and defending the human right to land, water, and food,  together we take on big struggles and win important gains. Below are just some of the successes achieved in 2014 with support from Grassroots International, standing up to challenge poverty, climate disruption and human rights abuses.

    Moving Towards an International Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

  • Seeds of Resistance in the Project of Life

    Think of the seed as the first link of the food chain.  If this prime component is compromised, the chain becomes untenable.  What’s more, if corporate interests control seeds, we are all subjugated to their agenda at every subsequent link of the chain.  In fact, the preponderance of GMO and copyrighted seeds from agribusiness laboratories and mono-cropped fields already determine to a frightening degree the foods we can buy and eat.  To counter these billion dollar agro-corporate interests, seed sovereignty activists have sought strength in their greatest resources — their knowledge and collective power.

  • Seeds of Resistance in the Project of Life

    Think of the seed as the first link of the food chain.  If this prime component is compromised, the chain becomes untenable.  Whats more, if corporate interests control seeds, we are all subjugated to their agenda at every subsequent link of the chain.  In fact, the preponderance of GMO and copyrighted seeds from agribusiness laboratories and mono-cropped fields already determine to a frightening degree the foods we can buy and eat.  To counter these billion dollar agro-corporate interests, seed sovereignty activists have sought strength in their greatest resources their knowledge and collective power.

  • Five Years Post-Earthquake, Shaken Haiti Still Rebuilding

    Five years ago on this day, a colossal shifting of the ground brought Haiti to its knees. On January 12, 2010 the island nation was devastated by the trembling. 0ver 300,000 people were killed according to Haitian government statistics, but the truth is that nobody knows how many were killed that day. Port-au-Prince was left devastated and in ruin. Today is a day to remember and mourn the people who were killed. It is also a day to reflect on how the devastation came to be so great, what happened afterward, and where Haiti is today.

  • Land, Resistance and a Door in the West Bank

    The hulking Separation Wall cuts Abu Nidal off from his Palestinian Village.  He lives in the home he built in 1974. Israel began to build a settlement on the land just four years later and, since, has steadily surrounded Abu Nidal’s small house with towering barriers and illegal housing projects. At one point he had a cafeteria on the road. Israel demolished it.  He had a storage facility for his farming equipment.  Israel destroyed it 10 times.  He had a green house.  Israel bulldozed it.

    I visited Abu Nidal with one of Grassroots International’s partners, the Stop the Wall Campaign. His story remains with me, feeding outrage at the atrocities he endures and hope for the ongoing resistance to land grabs.

  • Two Dreams Come True in Brazil

    Geraldo de Matos Barbosa and Maria Elena each had a dream when they joined the Landless Workers Movement (MST) 13 years ago. The couple has been part of the movement in Maranhão, Brazil including six years living in a dusty encampment, enduing six violent evictions before finally securing title to the land.

    The process of shifting from an encampment (without buildings, electricity and sometimes even water) to a settlement helped make both their dreams come true. Grasssroots International's support for land rights in Brazil, including with the MST, provides much-needed solidarity and funding for the movement, and for the apsirations of the courageous individuals putting themselves on the front lines of the struggle.

  • Migration, Food Sovereignty and Land Rights: A conversation with Carlos Marentes, Sr.

    On this International Migrants Day (December 18), Grassroots International pays tribute to the courage and dedication of many of our partners and allies, internationally and in the U.S., who are working at the intersection of migrant justice and resource rights. One of these partners is Carlos Marentes, Sr., director of Centro De Los Trabajadores Agrícolas Fronterizos (the Border Agricultural Workers Center) in El Paso, Texas. A close Grassroots International partner and co-coordinator of Via Campesina North America.

  • The Struggle for Indigenous Land and Autonomy in Honduras

    Honduras is the country with the highest level of homicide of any nation not at war, where government violence and human rights abuses have almost total impunity. It is also the country contributing most of the flood of children who have been recently forced to migrate to the US, because of that violence and by poverty – both, in part, a legacy of US policy in the region.

    Yet something else is afoot. A fierce social movement, composed of many sectors, is pushing back to protect democracy, lives, and political rights. Indigenous peoples, including Garifuna, Lenca, Pech, Miskito, Maya Chortí, and Tolupan, are asserting their human right to autonomy, territory, and cultural survival.

  • 10 Photos for International Human Rights Day: A Tribute to International Social Movements for Resource Rights

    December 10 is celebrated around the world as International Human Rights Day. On this day, Grassroots International is honored to call special attention to the social movements that are on the frontlines of the struggle for resource rights – the human rights to land and water, as well as food sovereignty and climate justice. We have much to celebrate, with several major successes that social movements have achieved in the struggle for resource rights over recent years. At the same time, over the past year, we have been heartbroken as we’ve lost many people who have been courageously defending resource in each of Grassroots International’s program areas. The photos and stories below are just a small sample of some of these movements and human rights defenders.

  • Exposing the « Green Revolution » in West Africa

    Farmers have worked the rugged land in Western Africa for generations, moving seasonally from field to forest for food and livelihood. While life was never easy, the community worked together, in harmony with their surroundings, to provide for themselves and their neighbors.

    All that changed when the government planted a virtual For Lease sign on the land. China and other buyers grabbed it up, quickly draining the land of nutrients with vast fields of monocrops for export.

    This is the plight of many farmers across the Global South. Massive land grabs combined with the influx of genetically modified seeds under the banner of the Green Revolution come with empty promises of increased agricultural productivity and the end of hunger.

  • Land Rights and Food Sovereignty in Brazil

    When Maria and Rubem dos Santos were pushed off their land in northeast Brazil to make way for a sugar cane plantation, their lives changed forever. In previous years, the family supported itself by growing food for a balanced diet. Now, instead of farming, Rubem had to work in the cane fields. The chemicals made him sick, and his meager income didn’t stretch far. The family was going hungry.

  • Keep your Coins, I Want Change

    This spring, Grassroots International was invited to participate in a project of the Kindle Project called the "Indie Philanthropy Initiative." For more information about the project, visit indph.org.  The interview below includes reflections from Nikhil Aziz and Sara Mersha.

    How do you do your funding and please describe your organization’s approach and process, explaining how it is different from conventional philanthropy.

  • Palestinian Farmer Spotlights Food Sovereignty

    Ali Abd El Rahman has been in the United States for only a few days, but it’s the longest he’s ever lived without having to go through a military checkpoint.

    El Rahman lives in Jerusalem, and as a Palestinian, his actions, resource use, transportation, and work are under Israeli government control. He doesn’t even have a legal passport; the Israeli government issues Jerusalem Palestinians travel documents that require a lot of explanation when he attempts to cross international borders.