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La Via Campesina North American Secretariat (LVC-NA)

LVC-NA leaders at a protest in Hong Kong demanding the WTO get out of agriculture.As part of Via Campesina International, LVC-NA facilitates the coordination of multilayered processes of grassroots organizing and movement building for food sovereignty currently being carried out by its members in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. It helps to strengthen this movement by coordinating policy consensus among members on key issues, creating links with allies and other movements also working for a just food system, and opening spaces for both organizational activities with farmers and peasants, and direct political action at the national and international levels.

LVC-NA has seen that policies in one country – like the Farm Bill in the US – impact farmers and farmworkers in that country as well as in other countries. Distorted trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and farm policies imposed on Mexico by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) as pre-conditions for economic loans have driven peasants off the land and into international migratory streams that impact the US. The rural economies of North America are in a state of crisis. A four-decade long drop in crop prices, combined with increases in costs of production, has created a crisis situation. Several million peasant farmers have been pushed off their land in Mexico since the 1982 debt crisis and the passage of NAFTA in 1994, while some 4,000 family farmers go bankrupt every week in the US. Farmworkers are unable to find salaries North or South of the border that would allow them a life with dignity; their labor rights are routinely violated, and rural peoples are finding their human rights increasingly under attack as peasant and farmworker movements are criminalized in Mexico, and marginalized in the United States and Canada.

Only through common understandings, policy positions, and political action plans across international borders can rural organizations effectively change these harmful policies. LVC-NA is facilitating processes of grassroots organizing and movement building for food sovereignty. It is strengthening this movement by coordinating policy consensus among members, creating links with allies and other movements also working for a just food system, and opening spaces for both organizational activities with farmers and peasants, and direct political action at the national and international levels.