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A Big Thank You from Grassroots International

February 2008

Dear friends,

I want to thank you on behalf of Grassroots International’s board, staff, advisors, and partners for your invaluable support over this past year. Your support has sown the seeds of a just and sustainable world by weaving a web of alliances among progressive movements, providing grants to them, and joining them in advocating for social change.

Your loyal support in 2007 meant that together, we provided $1.3 million in cash grants to our extraordinary partners around the world and, additionally, over $1.4 million in much-needed material aid – in the shape of vital medicines to our partners in Gaza.

I want to highlight just a few of the things that your solidarity enabled this past year.

2007 was the first year of our new Mesoamerica program supporting both indigenous and campesino movements. For example, we helped the Association of Rural Workers in Nicaragua train women leaders from 7 Central American countries in organizing and sustainable agriculture; the National Coordination of Indigenous Peoples and Campesinos in Guatemala, bring together indigenous Mayan peasant organizations to advocate for their land, water, and territorial rights; and Enlace Civil to work with autonomous indigenous communities of Mexico’s Chiapas state to support community-led sustainable development – from food production to education to housing.

With your help, we are on the verge of winning a sensible food aid program Like no other time in the history of the U.S. Farm Bill, people are waking up to the fact that U.S. farm and trade policy is indeed foreign policy. After years of giving a hand-out to agribusiness by shipping their surplus grain to places like Africa – doing little for the world’s 850,000,000 hungry people – this Farm Bill will likely provide a pilot cash program for local and regional purchases of food aid, Your voice has been heard, to the benefit of farmers around the world.

During the year, our staff participated in the Nyeleni Forum in Mali, West Africa – a groundbreaking global convening of peasant’s, women’s, indigenous peoples’ movements, and environmentalist and consumer organizations putting feet on the concept of “food sovereignty.” We were honored to support small farmers from around the world in attending the gathering. Based on the work accomplished there, we authored (and co-published with Food & Water Watch) a report, “Towards a Green Food System: How food sovereignty can save the environment and feed the world”.

Another remarkable event was the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta – a huge gathering of grassroots social justice activists and organizations – where we worked with allied organizations such as the National Family Farm Coalition to design panels and workshops that brought voices and perspectives together from Brazil, Mexico, Haiti and the United States. Coming out of the USSF, we are thrilled to work with allies like the Rainforest Action Network on a grassroots campaign (the ABC campaign) to counter the global threat posed by agribusiness and industrial agrofuels production.

Thank you again for your support of Grassroots and for your role in building the global movement for social justice. I trust we can rely on your generosity of spirit and action in 2008 to continue be the vehicle through which you support social change and global justice. With you, we can continue to be, as my colleagues like to say, “your progressive alternative to the official U.S. government plan for the rest of the world.”

Nikhil Aziz

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