US Food Sovereignty Alliance

Last updated


The USFSA supports local farming and access to healthy, sufficient food. Ballard Farmers' Market - vegetables.jpg
The USFSA supports local farming and access to healthy, sufficient food.

The United States Food Sovereignty Alliance is a group of food producers and labor, environmental, faith-based, social justice and anti-hunger advocacy organizations, [1] including the Applied Research Center, Family Farm Defenders, the Indigenous Environmental Network, and the National Family Farm Coalition. The USFA advocates food sovereignty, which is the right to sufficient and culturally appropriate food to all people and communities, and aims to reestablish better relations between food producers and consumers, placing the needs of local farmers, fishers, indigenous peoples and landless workers most impacted by global hunger, poverty, [2] and unbalanced food distribution above agribusiness and larger corporations. The USFA is organized into four Alliance Teams: Land & Resource Grabs, Immigrant Rights & Trade, Defense of Mother Earth, and Racism & Leadership. [3]

Contents

The US Food Sovereignty Alliance is a member of the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty, [4] and the Right to Food and Nutrition Watch Consortium, which includes “Brot für die Welt” (Bread for the world), FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN), and Interchurch Organisation for Development Cooperation (ICCO), among others. The Alliance awards the Food Sovereignty Prize annually.

Mission statement

The USFSA's mission, according to their founding document, is as follows: [5]

"The US Food Sovereignty Alliance works to end poverty, rebuild local food economies, and assert democratic control over the food system. We believe all people have the right to healthy, culturally appropriate food, produced in an ecologically sound manner. As a US-based alliance of food justice, anti-hunger, labor, environmental, faith-based, and food producer groups, we uphold the right to food as a basic human right and work to connect our local and national struggles to the international movement for food sovereignty."

History

The US Food Sovereignty Alliance was officially founded in 2009. The Alliance supports the concept of food sovereignty under the definition provided by La Vía Campesina (LVC), which originally proposed the idea at the 1996 World Food Summit. [6] A group of activists and supporters came together to form the Working Group on the Food Crisis in 2008, a previous version of the Alliance, to address issues such as increasing food prices, global hunger, unequal food distribution and food insecurity. Part of this group were representatives from the National Family Farm Coalition, and members of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development. After a meeting in Washington, DC in 2009, the Alliance was established to mobilize and educate US and international activists on the food crisis. [7] The Alliance met at the United States Social Forum in 2010, and has been meeting annually ever since.

Food Sovereignty Prize

The Food Sovereignty Prize is awarded annually to grassroots activists working for a more democratic food system. Awarded by the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, the Food Sovereignty Prize was developed to oppose the World Food Prize, which was founded by “the father of the Green Revolution,” Norman Borlaug. The Prize challenges the idea that global hunger, poverty and suffering can be alleviated purely through promoting more agribusiness and aquaculture. [8] Instead, the Prize advocates for those who work to eliminate unequal distribution of wealth and resources, and overturn destructive political, economic, and social policies to open better access to food to communities in need.

The Food Sovereignty Prize is awarded to groups who are active in four areas: [9]

  1. Raising public awareness, organizing on-the-ground action, and/or developing and implementing programs and policies,
  2. Recognizing the importance of collective action in bringing about social change,
  3. Building global linkages into their work, and
  4. Prioritizing the leadership of women, indigenous peoples, people of color, migrant workers and other food providers marginalized by the global food system.

Past honorees include:

Related Research Articles

Food and Agriculture Organization Specialised agency of the United Nations

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security. Its Latin motto, fiat panis, translates to "let there be bread". Founded in October 1945, the FAO is the oldest existing agency of the U.N.

World Food Programme Food-assistance branch of the United Nations

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations and the world's largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security. According to the WFP, it provides food assistance to an average of 91.4 million people in 83 countries each year. From its headquarters in Rome and from more than 80 country offices around the world, the WFP works to help people who cannot produce or obtain enough food for themselves and their families. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its executive committee.

Hunger Sustained inability to eat sufficient food

In politics, humanitarian aid, and social science, hunger is a condition in which a person, for a sustained period, is unable to eat sufficient food to meet basic nutritional needs. So in the field of hunger relief, the term hunger is used in a sense that goes beyond the common desire for food that all humans experience.

Food First organization

Food First, also known as the Institute for Food and Development Policy, is a nonprofit organization based in Oakland, California, USA. Founded in 1975 by Frances Moore Lappé and Joseph Collins, it describes itself as a "people's think tank and education-for-action center".

"Food sovereignty", a term coined by members of Via Campesina in 1996, asserts that the people who produce, distribute, and consume food should control the mechanisms and policies of food production and distribution. This stands in contrast to the present corporate food regime, in which corporations and market institutions dominate the global food system. It also encompasses the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. The phrase "culturally appropriate" signifies that the food that is available and accessible for the population should fit with the cultural background of the people consuming it.

Via Campesina organization

La Vía Campesina was founded in 1993 by farmers organizations from Europe, Latin America, Asia, North America, Central America and Africa. It describes itself as "an international movement which coordinates peasant organizations of small and middle-scale producers, agricultural workers, rural women, and indigenous communities from Asia, Africa, America, and Europe". It is a coalition of 182 organisations in 81 countries, advocating family-farm-based sustainable agriculture and was the group that coined the term "food sovereignty". La Vía Campesina has carried out a campaign to defend farmer's seeds, a campaign to stop violence against women, a campaign for the recognition of the rights of peasants, a global campaign for agrarian reform, and others.

Landless Workers Movement movement in Brazil

Landless Workers' Movement is a social movement in Brazil, inspired by Marxism, generally regarded as one of the largest in Latin America with an estimated informal membership of 1.5 million across 23 of Brazil's 26 states. MST defines its goals as access to the land for poor workers through land reform in Brazil and activism around social issues that make land ownership more difficult to achieve, such as unequal income distribution, racism, sexism, and media monopolies. MST strives to achieve a self-sustainable way of life for the rural poor.

Land law is the form of law that deals with the rights to use, alienate, or exclude others from land. In many jurisdictions, these kinds of property are referred to as real estate or real property, as distinct from personal property. Land use agreements, including renting, are an important intersection of property and contract law. Encumbrance on the land rights of one, such as an easement, may constitute the land rights of another. Mineral rights and water rights are closely linked, and often interrelated concepts.

Agribusiness agriculture-related industry

Agribusiness is the business of agricultural production. The term is a portmanteau of agriculture and business and was coined in 1957 by John Davis and Ray Goldberg. It includes agrichemicals, breeding, crop production, distribution, farm machinery, processing, and seed supply, as well as marketing and retail sales. All agents of the food and fiber value chain and those institutions that influence it are part of the agribusiness system.

National Farmers Union (Canada)

The National Farmers Union of Canada (NFU) is an organization set up by Canadian farmers. It is headquartered in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. It is descended from the United Farmers of Canada which was a loose federation of militant farmers' organizations. It was created as the Interprovincial Farm Union Council (IFUC) in 1945 to co-ordinate activities between provincial bodies, particularly the Alberta Farmers Union and the United Farmers of Canada who were planning a farmers' strike if grievances on farm prices and marketing problems were not solved. In 1960 it was renamed the National Farmers Union and in 1969 it was refounded with a national convention as a direct membership organization.

Raj Patel British academic

Rajeev "Raj" Patel is a British Indian American academic, journalist, activist and writer who has lived and worked in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United States for extended periods. He has been referred to as "the rock star of social justice writing."

Landless Peoples Movement

The Landless People's Movement was an independent social movement in South Africa. It consisted of rural people and people living in shack settlements in cities. The Landless People's Movement boycotted parliamentary elections and had a history of conflict with the African National Congress. The Landless People's Movement was affiliated to Via Campesina internationally and its Johannesburg branches to the Poor People's Alliance in South Africa.

Agroecology in Latin America

Agroecology is an applied science that involves the adaptation of ecological concepts to the structure, performance, and management of sustainable agroecosystems. In Latin America, agroecological practices have a long history and vary between regions but share three main approaches or levels: plot scale, farm scale, and food system scale. Agroecology in Latin American countries can be used as a tool for providing both ecological, economic, and social benefits to the communities that practice it, as well as maintaining high biodiversity and providing refuges for flora and fauna in these countries. Due to its broad scope and versatility, it is often referred to as "a science, a movement, a practice."

Jo Luck is an American and former CEO of Heifer International. She was recognized with a World Food Prize in 2010.

The Pact of Unity is an evolving national alliance of Bolivian grassroots organizations in support of indigenous and agrarian rights, land reform, the rewriting of the 1967 constitution through a Constituent Assembly, and a left-indigenous transformation of the Bolivian state. Since 2005, the Pact has been a close ally of Bolivian President Evo Morales, and it forms the nucleus of the National Coordination for Change, a pro-government alliance.

Good Food march is a march conceived and promoted by several international organizations, among which the European Coordination Via Campesina, Friends of the Earth Europe, Slow Food, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Group PAC 2013, Agricultural and Rural Convention 2020 and many more, that addresses issues related to agriculture and nutrition and with the participation of citizens of the European Union and international organizations of various kinds, including Oxfam, WWF, Greenpeace. The network also supports the annual We are fed up!-demonstrations in Berlin.

Food sovereignty is a highly influential idea in Bolivian political discourse. It is incorporated into multiple pieces of Bolivian legislation, including the 2009 constitution drafted underneath president Evo Morales. Food sovereignty fits into Morales' larger goal of the symbolic decolonization of Bolivia. First coined by indigenous and peasant worker advocacy organization Via Campesina, food sovereignty is the right for a state's people to produce and distribute culturally appropriate foods without the impingement of economic pressures created by foreign agribusiness producers. The presence of foreign agribusiness in Bolivia can be traced back to exploitative resource extraction that proliferated in South America with 19th century liberalism. Modern-day wholesale agribusiness production makes competition difficult for Bolivia's small-scale farmers, who often take out high-interest loans and consequently accumulate debt.

The Landworkers' Alliance are a UK-based union of farmers, growers, foresters and land-based workers founded in 2015 who work together to campaign for better food and land-use systems.

Elizabeth Mpofu is a small-scale organic farmer, writer and activist based in Zimbabwe. She is General Coordinator of Via Campesina and in 2016 was Special Ambassador to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for the International Year of Pulses. She is also founder and chairperson of ZIMSOFF.

References

  1. "USFSA". usfoodsovereigntyalliance.org. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  2. "USFSA". usfoodsovereigntyalliance.org. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  3. "USFSA". usfoodsovereigntyalliance.org. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  4. "Food SovereigntyAbout Us - Food Sovereignty". foodsovereignty.org. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  5. "Draft Founding Document for the US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA)" (PDF). 30 May 2013. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  6. "US Food Sovereignty Alliance | Grassroots International". grassrootsonline.org. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  7. Molly (1 September 2013). "INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE YALE UNIVERSITY" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  8. "U.S. Farmworkers and Palestinian Farmers share 2014 Food Sovereignty Prize". viacampesina.org. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  9. "Food Sov Prize | The Prize - Food Sov Prize". foodsovereigntyprize.org. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  10. "Growing Strength to Grow Food: Haitian Farmers Win Annual U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance Prize | Beverly Bell". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  11. "Korean Women's Peasant Association : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". archive.org. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  12. "Friends of the MST's Website | Friends of the MST". mstbrazil.org. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  13. "Family Farm Defenders". familyfarmers.org. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
  14. "La Via Campesina : International Peasant Movement". viacampesina.org. Retrieved 2014-11-21.