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Celebrating Food Sovereignty with MPP and Black Dirt Farm Collective

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January 2024

US Food Sovereignty Alliance

On December 14, the US Food Sovereignty Alliance honored the Black Dirt Farm Collective and our Haitian partner the Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP) in an online ceremony for the Food Sovereignty Prize.

In the words of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance:

The Food Sovereignty Prize was first awarded in 2009 as an alternative to the World Food Prize founded by “the father of the Green Revolution,” the late Norman Borlaug. While the World Food Prize emphasizes increased production through technology, the Food Sovereignty Prize champions solutions coming from those most impacted by the injustices of the global food system. In honoring those who are taking back their food systems, the Food Sovereignty Prize affirms that nothing short of the true democratization of our food system will enable us to end hunger once and for all.

The work of both Black Dirt Farm Collective and the MPP embodies the principles and goals of food sovereignty: democratic and culturally sensitive food production that’s in right relationship with the planet and local communities. Their work raises the banner of an alternative to the destructive, profit-driven food system we live under now.

The Black Dirt Farm Collective is a collective of farmers, educators and organizers that arose from the need to support and protect Black agrarian knowledge in the US mid-Atlantic region. The Collective fights for a just transition using “Afroecology” – the connection between Black agrarianism and agroecology – to build systemic solutions to global food and farm crises. Racial discrimination led to the systematic removal of US Black farmers from the land. Between 1910 and 1997, Black farmers lost roughly 90% of the farmland they collectively owned, and the US Department of Agriculture now reports that fewer than 1% of US farmers are Black. The Black Dirt Farm Collective is committed to reclaiming Black agrarian history, lost generational wealth, and returning to the land.

Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP, or Papaye Peasant Movement) was established in 1973, aligned with the international peasant movement La Via Campesina from the 1990s onward, and has grown to represent more than 60,000 members. The movement empowers rural agricultural workers and focuses on food sovereignty to reclaim Haiti’s independence from global food imports. The Prize committee recognizes MPP’s work combating the ongoing environmental, humanitarian, and hunger crisis in Haiti, worsened by entrenched legacies of colonization, land grabbing, climate change, and foreign exploitation at the expense of local food systems. MPP works directly with local farmers to bolster local food economies through agroecology and build environmental resiliency through planting tens of millions of trees. This inspiring grassroots strategy rejects Haiti’s continued reliance on sporadic international aid in favor of local community control.

Watch the full ceremony below:

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