Brazil’s MST is at the forefront of social action for just land distribution. Latin America’s largest popular movement, the MST works with landless peasants to identify and settle on underutilized land, gain legal title to the land and bring it into productive use.
Through the MST’s efforts, more than 1.5 million people have been settled on 17 million acres of land, and currently more than 120,000 families are living in encampments, awaiting settlement. The MST is also one of the most powerful peasant and landless workers movements, organizing for comprehensive “People’s Agrarian Reform,” food sovereignty and climate justice.
Grassroots works with the MST at state and national levels through sustainable agriculture, training and legal assistance projects. In the states of Pernambuco and Maranhão, Grassroots supports the development of sustainable agriculture practices by settled farmers for the production of healthy foods for families and surrounding communities, as well training the next generation of organizers through workshops and exchanges, and legal support in cases related to the political and economic rights of landless peasants. At the national level, Grassroots supports a comprehensive training program in agroecology – a practice of agriculture that is healthy for people and for the earth, based on both traditional knowledge and modern science, and grounded in food sovereignty.
Land thefts are a particularly important issue in Brazil. Grassroots International co-hosted a recent webinar with allies and partners on the role of U.S. financial institutions driving land grabs and their effect on small-scale farmers.