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Food Sovereignty and Agrofuels: Voices from the Field

August 2007

[George Naylor, President of the National Family Farm Coalition, continues his report from the Via Campesina’s forum on Agrofuels and Food Sovereignty (August 30-31, 2007) with an update on the presentations he’s heard. –Ed.]

What I´ve heard here is that multinational corporations and governments intend to provide our energy-insatiable economies (especially in the US and Europe) with agrofuels, even though demand could never be met and monocropping will foreclose food sovereignty and biodiversity.

These meetings offer incredible diversity, with participants from such different kinds of communities–almost from different worlds. Because of the diversity there have been many unique responses to the economic forces already in motion from neoliberalism.

I´m always astounded when I attend a meeting of Mexican farmers how clearly they speak about their truly profound message. A conference like this is a rare chance for them to share what´s happening and what’s to be done about it.

Many echo what I heard in Chiapas at the Second International Encounter of Zapatistas and Peoples of the World earlier this summer: They want autonomy with respect.

One campesina talked of the necessity of training the community to be responsible consumers of their own production and emphasizing the organization of communal tasks. She said that developing a water supply had been a spark of cooperation and beekeeping became a pillar of economic development. She talked of the permanent struggle for land.

I think we in the US must recognize our responsibility to change our political economy and our ways of living. We are in the passenger seat, if not the drivers seat, of the global gas-guzzling economic system.

On thing that’s clear is that we need to learn new ways in the US, or maybe just relearn the old ways of cooperation.

–George Naylor

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