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  • Demise of Doha Negotiations a Cause for Celebration

    Grassroots International ally and grantee, the National Family Farm Coalition (a member of Grassroots' partner the Via Campesina), celebrated the demise of the recent Doha Round of negotiations at the World Trade Organization in Geneva. Grassroots supports the NFFC's and Via's demand for the WTO to "get out of agriculture" as this is imperative to realizing food sovereignty. The disastrous neoliberal trade policies pursued by the WTO benefit the "industrial agricultural complex" while harming family farmers, peasants and farm workers worldwide.

  • Local and Fair Trade at the Crossroads

    Grassroots International ally Phyllis Robinson of Equal Exchange recently wrote about the potential wedge driven between advocates of local foods (often called "localvores" in the current vernacular) and those working for Fair Trade. As she points out, Fair Trade and Buy Local advocates share many important concerns about the ways we can take back our food system so that it works best for small farmers and consumers, both locally and throughout the world – developing systems that promote food sovereignty.  For more information, read her article.

  • Food Riots, Food Rights, a Fast, and a Corporate Agribusiness Campaign: A Global People’s State of Emergency Declared!

    Food Riots and a Fast

    I have had the privilege of accompanying some of the largest and most dynamic social movements in Latin America over the course of my work at Grassroots International. In early 2001, we struggled with how to share the news of the agrarian reform and land rights struggles of our partners in Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries in ways that would resonate with folks here in the United States. What we came up with back then was to connect land rights with food rights.

    More recently the right to food has been the daily bread of the news media as the sharp increase in food prices have resulted in food riots in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In the US, the working poor are suffering hunger in silent resignation.

  • FUNAGUAS Protests the Bunge Corporation

    The following is an English translation of a statement made by Judson Barros, the president of FUNAGUAS, as he protested the Bunge Corporation outside its annual stockholders' meeting in New York.

    Bunge Food Inc. has been in the public eye over the last two months in many media outlets in Brazil (magazines, websites and newspapers) for two reasons:

  • The Time has Come for La Via Campesina and Food Sovereignty

    Around the world it seems more and more that the time has come for La Via Campesina.  The global alliance of peasant and family farm organizations has spent the past decade perfecting an alternative proposal for how to structure a country's food system, called Food Sovereignty.  It was clear at the World Forum for Food Sovereignty, held last year in Mali, that this proposal has been gaining ground with other social movements, including those of indigenous peoples, women, consumers, environmentalists, some trade unions, and others.  Though when it comes to governments and international agencies, it has until recently been met with mostly deaf ears.  But now things have changed.  The global crisis of rising food prices, which has already

  • An Answer to the Global Food Crisis: Peasants and small farmers can feed the world

    By La Via Campesina

    Prices on the world market for cereals are rising. Wheat prices increased by 130% in the period between March 2007-March 2008. Rice prices increased by almost 80% in the period up to 2008. Maize prices increased by 35% between March 2007 and March 2008 (1).  In countries that depend heavily on food imports some prices have gone up dramatically. Poor families see their food bills go up and can no longer afford to buy the minimum needed.

  • Is There Child Labor in Your Meal?

    Every person who consumes food in America has a right to know if child or slave labor was used to farm or process the food they eat. But agribusinesses don't seem to agree.

    Our friends at the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) are lobbying for a provision in the pending U.S. Farm Bill that establishes a voluntary certification system in which companies can verify that their products are not made with child and slave labor. But Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) are lobbying intensely to kill the provision. Why? As the ILRF points out, this is a purely voluntary system, and a corporation that is following international law should have nothing to fear.

  • Food Price Crisis

    Food prices have been increasing sharply. According to the World Bank, global food prices have climbed by 83% over the last three years. The real price of rice rose to a 19-year high in March 2008, an increase of 50% in two weeks alone while the real price of wheat hit a 28-year high, triggering an international crisis.

  • Agribusinesses Abandon Agricultural Pact, Hurting Small Farmers

    Food activists, scientists, and representatives from governments and corporations around the world will begin meeting in Johannesburg on Monday, April 7th, to finalize a report on how the world can tackle the deeply interrelated issues of hunger, poverty, power, and global agriculture.

    But global agribusinesses Monsanto, Syngenta, and BASF have refused to participate. They complained recently that genetic modification of agriculture was under-valued by the 4,000 scientists and experts working on the report, and that the report should not have stated that biotechnology in agriculture poses risks.

  • Expansion of Biotechnology in Brazil Augments Rural Conflicts

    On March 7 several hundred people occupied a research site of the U.S.-based agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, and destroyed the greenhouse and experimental plots of genetically-modified (GM) corn. Participants in the act, members of the international farmers' organization La Vía Campesina, stated in a note that the act was to protest the Brazilian government's decision in February to legalize Monsanto's GM Guardian® corn, which was recently banned in France, Austria, and Hungary due to risks to the environment and human health.

  • A Message for Monsanto: Beet It!

    It's safe to say that beets have never been a hot topic in the U.S. financial world.

    But now a group of more than 300 socially-concerned institutional investors is asking consumers to urge major food corporations not to buy genetically engineered sugar beets. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) has launched a web site that helps consumers write effective letters to corporations like Kraft and Heinz about their desire not to see Monsanto's soon-to-be-released "Roundup Ready" sugar beets used in food products.

  • Free-Trade Failures from Canada to Colombia

    Free-Trade Failures from Canada to Colombia: Stop SPP and the Colombia FTA

    Learn about the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, a "super-NAFTA" package of trade and security initiatives organized behind closed doors between corporate leadership and the Mexican, Canadian, and US governments, and the Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (Colombia FTA), a "free-trade" deal built on a history of neoliberal repression of workers rights.

    Find out how you can stop these undemocratic pro-corporate giveaways, and protect the rights of people, communities, and ecosystems threatened by "free trade."

    Speakers include:

  • Why Local and Fair Trade are Two Sides of the Same Coin

    Suddenly everyones talking about local: Local is the new organic, were told. Farmers markets are springing up in food co-operative and church parking lots and on Main Streets throughout the country. More people are joining CSAs (community supported agriculture) and choosing locally grown products in their grocery stores. And as this trend continues, more and more consumers are starting to ask hard questions about where their food comes from and how its grown, who are the people growing it and under what conditions, and equally important of course, whos making the decisions that control our food choices and whos making the profits from those purchases?

  • A March for Maize–and More

    Driving their tractors and greeting supporters along the way, a group of Mexican farmers recently traveled 1,200 miles over 14 days, protesting the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and demanding that the agricultural section of NAFTA be renegotiated.

    Click here for a great photo of the over 200,000 strong march and an article in Spanish from La Jornada.

  • Colombia: Challenging Corporate Power and State Terror

    This Saturday, January 26th is the World Social Forum Global Day of Action. Please join Mass Jobs with Justice in solidarity with the mission of the WSF for:

    Colombia: Challenging Corporate Power and State Terror

    11AM-1PM at the Community Church of Boston, 565 Boylston St, Boston MA.

    Join Avi Chomsky, Orlando Acosta, Jeff Crosby and other organizers as they look at events in Colombia, free trade agreements, exploitation of natural resources, suppression of indigenous people, and targeting of workers.

    Event to be followed by an action in solidarity with Colombia, marking the Global Day of Action.

  • Congresswoman Seeks to Revamp NAFTA

    In a promising development for North American workers, U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur, Democrat of Ohio, recently introduced legislation that would require the U.S. to renegotiate NAFTA. The goal of the legislation is to address the environmental harm, decrease in jobs and wages, and other social and economic problems caused by the failed trade agreement.

    The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Accountability Act (H.R. 4329) would require the Executive Branch of the U.S. government to certify that certain benchmarks have been met by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico (the countries covered under the agreement). Such benchmarks include increased U.S. domestic manufacturing, stronger health and environmental standards, and the guarantee of Mexican democracy.

  • Congress « Dumps On » Peru With New Fair Trade Agreement

    The U.S. Senate ignored the wishes of 4 million Peruvian farmers and countless numbers of American family farmers, ranchers, and consumers earlier this month when it voted to create a new Peru Free Trade Agreement (Peru FTA). The agreement, modeled on failed free trade policies such as NAFTA and CAFTA, will allow American agribusinesses to dump tons of below-cost commodities such as corn and soybeans into the Peruvian economy, thereby creating unfair competition for Peruvian farmers. It will also allow Peru to flood the U.S. market with cheap fruits and vegetables at a time when American family farmers are trying to build sustainable food systems by offering affordable local produce to consumers.

  • World Food Day: The Right to Food IS Food Sovereignty

    More and more people around the world are taking up the call by peasant and small farmers, indigenous peoples and pastoralists for food sovereignty as an expression of, and a way to realize the right to food. Earlier this year members of the Via Campesina and other organizations met in Mali to put in motion an action plan for achieving food sovereignty. On October 16th, World Food Day, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) endorsed food sovereignty as the right to food. As IFOAM notes, food sovereignty as the right to food means the right to feed oneself as opposed to the right to be fed.

  • Central America’s Women Fighting Oppression

    [In September 2007, Saulo Araujo, our Global Programs Assistant, is visiting our partners in Mesoamerica. He'll be reporting back about resource rights and food sovereignty issues in the region. This is the first of a series of three articles. --Ed.]

    As I waited for my flight to El Salvador on Tuesday, I decided to browse the newspapers for news about the election in Guatemala and saw a small blurb about the defeat of Rigoberta Menchu. The newspaper article reads that Rigoberta Menchu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, received only 3% of the valid ballots in last Sunday's presidential election in Guatemala.