On Saturday, 10/25/14, Haitian farmworker and FWAF community leader in Fellsmere, Elvire Francois, departed for an exciting trip to Rome, Italy. Elvire (pictured here second from right, with her daughters and other family members) is part of a delegation from La Via Campesina that was invited to participate in a gathering hosted by the Vatican called "Terra Domus Labor", which will reflect on the relationship of the church to popular movements for social justice. During the meeting, Elvire will make a presentation on the struggles of farmworkers and immigrants in the U.S., and how migration is connected to issues of land access and landlessness in other countries. FWAF is a proud member of La Via Campesina, the international movement of peasants, farmworkers, small farmers, women farmers, indigenous farmers, and landless peoples defending the right to food sovereignty. Other Via Campesina delegates from North American participating in the gathering include Carlos Marentes, Director of the Border Agricultural Workers Project (Texas), and Dena Hoff, farmer member of National Family Farm Coalition (Montana).
Taken from La Vía Campesina
Food Sovereignty is the right of the world’s peoples to produce and to consume healthy food. Food cannot be reduced to a commodity in the hands of the transnational corporations.
The international peasant and family farmer movement, La Via Campesina, is calling upon its member organisations across the world, and on grassroots organisations, allied social groups, and concerned consumers to be part of the World Day of Action for Peoples’ Food Sovereignty and against transnational corporations, this coming October 16th, 2014.
Every year, La Via Campesina organises this Day of solidarity, resistance, and mobilisation in order to make citizens aware of the current threats to Peoples’ Food Sovereignty.
"Today a Window was opened in what for 50 years has been the Cathedral of the Green Revolution"
Press Release- La Via Campesina
The International Symposium on Agroecology for Food and Nutritional Security was held on the 18th and 19th of September of 2014, at the headquarters of the Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in Rome. This marked the first time that the FAO has ever officially and directly addressed the topic of agroecology.
In his closing remarks at the Symposium, José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the FAO, said that: "Today a Window was opened in what for 50 years has been the Cathedral of the Green Revolution." The delegation of La Via Campesina, that participated in the Symposium, welcomes this opening, but recommends caution, given the attempts to coopt agroecology that were observed at the event.
According to La Via Campesina, the science, practices and movement of agroecology are the product of centuries of accumulated peasant and indigenous knowledge, knowledge of how food was produced for humanity since long before farm chemicals were invented. This knowledge has been organized through a 'dialog of knowledges' (dialogo de saberes) with the western sciences of ecology, agronomy, rural sociology, etc. Support for agroecology, among rural social movements, consumers, environmentalists and others, has grown a lot in recent decades, in part because of it's sharp critique of, and it's alternatives to, the badly-named 'Green Revolution' of industrial agriculture. For La Via, peasant agroecology is a fundamental building block in the construction of food sovereignty. Read more
YES TO LAND REFORM AND AGROECOLOGY
FOR PEOPLE’S FOOD SOVEREIGNTY!
International peasant movement, La Via Campesina, of which the Farmworker Association of Florida is a member, is taking part in the People's Climate Summit in New York City to bring attention to the impacts of climate change on peasants, small farmers, women farmers, indigenous farmers, farmworkers, and landless peoples. LVC has issued a position statement urging support for traditional, sustainable, agroecological farming practices as the path to real food sovereignty. "We continue to propose and put into practice wherever we can agroecological production and the construction of people’s food sovereignty."
GLOBALIZE THE STRUGGLE, GLOBALIZE HOPE!
Taken from Orlando Sentinel
American farmers apply more than 1 billion pounds of pesticides a year to their fields to kill weeds and damaging insects. But collateral damage includes farmworkers; more than 10,000 a year suffer acute pesticide poisoning. Now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed stricter limits on pesticide use. The issue is especially important in Florida, with its $100 billion agricultural industry and more than 150,000 farmworkers. In a recent email interview, Eve Gartner of Earthjustice, an environmental advocacy group, and Jeannie Economos, a pesticide expert for the Farmworker Association of Florida, called for more stringent rules than the EPA has proposed. Excerpts of that interview follow. A longer version is online at OrlandoSentinel.com/Opinion.
Q: Why are more stringent pesticide rules needed?
A: The farmworkers who harvest the food that the rest of us consume are regularly exposed to toxic chemicals designed to kill pests. Many of these men and women suffer illnesses as a result — rashes, blisters, nausea, headaches, respiratory issues, stinging eyes — and elevated risks of cancer, neurological impairment and other long-term health problems.
According to the federal government, there are 10,000 to 20,000 acute pesticide poisonings among agricultural workers every year. Yet, farmworkers receive far less protection from pesticides than workers in other industries who are exposed to similarly toxic chemicals. Farm workers deserve the same health and safety protections as other workers in the U.S.
EPA proposal is a step in the right direction as farmworkers demand stronger rules now.
Farmworkers, public health advocates, labor organizations, and public officials, were among the more than 200,000 who submitted comments to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling on the agency to strengthen its Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The WPS is the only federal standard designed to protect the nation’s more than 2 million farmworkers from one of their greatest occupational hazards: pesticide exposure.
“Farmworkers face dangerous exposure to poisons over the course of their working life,” said Eve Gartner, attorney for Earthjustice, a public interest law firm. “While most Americans benefit from broad workplace protections, farmworkers are not protected by the same health and safety standards.”