5 Food System Lessons the U.S. Can Learn from Africa

Yonas Yimer, Communications Officer for the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, highlights lessons that the United States can take from current, localized agricultural practices in Africa, where farmers are resisting the corporate-driven push for industrialized agriculture.

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Photo Credit: Civil Eats

 

In this post from the blog, Civil Eats, Yonas Yimer highlights lessons that the United States can take from current, localized agricultural practices in Africa, where farmers are resisting the corporate-driven push for industrialized agriculture. Yimer works with AFSA, the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, who is the recipient of the 2016 Food Sovereignty Prize. Touching on concepts of agroecology, food freedom, and systematic oppression, Yimer suggests that the United States should not only respect the current, successful food systems that are in place in Africa, but encourage similar practices of agroecology in the United States.

 

CAGJ is proud to host AFSA at the Food Sovereignty Prize Award Ceremony on October 15th at Town Hall Seattle. You can Register for the Town Hall award event now at this link, and please share widely!

For more information on the prize and this year’s winners, visit the Food Sovereignty Prize website, follow the Food Sovereignty Prize on Facebook, and join the conversation on Twitter ( #foodsovprize).

Food And Hunger: Which Prize Takes The Prize?

CAGJ and Community to Community are co-hosting the 2016 Food Sovereignty Prize, working closely with US Food Sovereignty Alliance members across the country, including WhyHunger, whose co-founder authored this piece on the fundamental differences between the World Food Prize, and the Food Sovereignty Prize.

Below is an excerpt from Bill Ayres’ article. It was originally published on The Huffington Post.
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Photo Credit: Huffington Post

Food And Hunger: Which Prize Takes The Prize?

By Bill Ayres, WhyHunger Co-founder and Ambassador

“Doctor Norman Borlaug the Father of the Green Revolution founded the World Food Prize in 1986 to promote the work of scientists and agricultural organizations that promote the production of food through technology. Over the years the prize has been given to dozens of top agricultural scientists and organizations which have pioneered biotechnological solutions for increasing food production, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Yet the solutions and science honored at these ceremonies aren’t solving the hunger problem in our world.

The Food Sovereignty Prize begun in 2009 to champion social movements, activists and community-based organizations around the world working to ensure that all people have access to fresh, nutritious food produced in harmony with the planet. Food Sovereignty means that people should be able to grow, eat and sell their own food in the manner they choose. Members believe that increased dependence on technology, as heralded in the World Food Prize honorees, in the form of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, and GMO seeds is not the answer to hunger and food production. Control of the food system by large corporations is not the way to protect the environment and decrease hunger and poverty. Access to land, clean water, native seeds and fair markets as well as protection from land grabs and state-sponsored violence are what small farmers need. Millions of small farmers have embraced agroecology, a method of growing food sustainably that combines the best of traditional agriculture with many of the best new agricultural breakthroughs that are affordable and safe for the environment, the food and the farmers. It is a way of life in which whole communities come together to share resources and learn from one another.”

Read the entire article on The Huffington Post.

Agroecology vs. Industrial Agriculture

If you aren’t familiar with agroecology, this infographic is a great introduction.

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The UK based Agroecology Group released this infographic called Soil to Sky, created by The Christensen Fund. The graphic follows the impact of industrial agriculture compared to agroecology, on soil, food, water, communities, and the atmosphere.

 

 

AGRA Watch Supports The Monsanto Tribunal

AGRA Watch/CAGJ is proud to support the Monsanto Tribunal as a Civil Society Organization. this. The Monsanto Tribunal, to take place October 14-18, at The Hague, Netherlands, is an international civil society initiative that aims to hold Monsanto accountable for any human rights violations, crimes against humanity, and ecocide that the corporation has committed. Monsanto’s chemical-intensive agricultural practices pollute the environment, cause major biodiversity loss, threaten food sovereignty, and contribute further to global warming. AGRA Watch welcomes the opportunity to let the truth of Monsanto’s actions come to light.

It’s important to note that the Monsanto Tribunal is not a trial held in the International Criminal Court (ICC). While is it presided over by five internationally renowned judges, it is a truth-finding court intent on assessing the case against Monsanto, damages it has caused under international law, actions related to the crime of ecocide, and to consider an amendment to the Rome Statute establishing the ICC, to include ecocide as a punishable crime. Continue reading “AGRA Watch Supports The Monsanto Tribunal”

Anchor Farm Project: The Clinton Foundation’s Link to AGRA/BMGF

In light of the recent media spotlight on the Clinton Foundation, AGRA Watch investigated the relationship among the Clinton Foundation, AGRA, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

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Report researched and compiled by Cate Abascal, AGRA Watch Intern, September 2015; Updated by Megumi Sugihara, AGRA Watch Member, September 2016

In light of the recent media spotlight on the Clinton Foundation, AGRA Watch investigated the relationship among the Clinton Foundation, AGRA, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). It was soon revealed that the Anchor Farm Project of the Clinton Development Initiative is a link between these three organizations. As our report illustrates, it is another push by BMGF to penetrate African agriculture.

Although Anchor Farms is the project of the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Development Initiative (CDI), it is directly funded by the Gates Foundation’s subsidiary AGRA under the Soil Health Program for the stated purpose of “improving the productivity of maize and soya beans through integrated soil fertility management and better access to markets.” The project establishes large commercial farms, called “Anchor Farms”, in rural areas. At the farms, the Clinton Foundation staff trains local farmers in commercial farming practices and mediate loans between commercial banks and the farmers for the needed equipment and inputs. Continue reading “Anchor Farm Project: The Clinton Foundation’s Link to AGRA/BMGF”

Resisting Land Grabs in Ghana: A Success Story

“When local leaders became aware of the mining company’s plans to prospect, they already had the tools to articulate concerns to the community and the knowledge that they had the right to say no.”

 

Unmasking Land Grabbing In Ghana; Restoring Livelihoods; Paving Way For Sustainable Development Goals
Photo Credit: Rose Oppong, CIKOD

By Johanna Lundahl, AGRA Watch Intern

In late August Caritas Ghana, a catholic humanitarian organization, along with the National Catholic Secretariat, and the Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) published a joint report called Unmasking Land Grabs In Ghana; Restoring Livlihoods; Paving the Way for Sustainable Development Goals. The report is an overview of the issue of land grabs in Africa generally and more specifically Ghana, with an in depth look at three case studies. The cases show varying degrees of exploitation of the local communities, lack of transparency in the initial negotiations, and the socio economic interests of local people suffering as a result of a corporation’s actions. The final report was compiled by Samuel Zan Akologo of Caritas Ghana, and Bernard Guri, Executive Director of CIKOD.

CIKOD is a member of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), who will receive the Food Sovereignty Prize in Seattle on October 15th, awarded by the US Food Sovereignty Alliance and hosted by CAGJ/AGRA Watch at Town Hall (register here). Bernard Guri, Executive Director of CIKOD, is the Chair of AFSA, and will be in Seattle to accept the prize on behalf of AFSA. Continue reading “Resisting Land Grabs in Ghana: A Success Story”

Trade Deals like the TPP Further Criminalize Farmer Seed Saving, Legalize Corporate Theft

By Johanna Lundahl, AGRA Watch Intern

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photo credit: Global Justice Now

Grain, an international non-profit focused on supporting small farmers, and community controlled food systems, provided an update on the free trade agreements that affect farmer’s rights to save and plant seeds of their choosing, in a piece called New Trade Deals Legalize Corporate Theft, Make farmer’s Seeds Illegal. The article is the latest in a series of opinion pieces called Against the Grain, published by the non-profit.

The article points out that these trade deals, negotiated on entirely in secret and outside of the World Trade Organization (WTO), have gone far beyond the existing international standards for patenting forms of life. The 1994 WTO agreement for trade related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPs) was the first international agreement on the owning of organisms. Through TRIPs, representatives of Dow, Syngenta, and Monsanto ensured that their companies could make a profit off of the seeds they had spent the money to engineer. By preventing farmers from re-using seeds, farmers were forced to buy new seeds every year from the same companies, making their seeds and livestock more expensive, and transforming life into a commodity that corporations can own and control. Continue reading “Trade Deals like the TPP Further Criminalize Farmer Seed Saving, Legalize Corporate Theft”