Sustainable Peasant's Agriculture

In the Year of Family Farming: Food Sovereignty is the Framework for Family Farm Resilience

Press release of La Via Campesina North America

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_sustainableagriculture_colline_du_chene.jpg(Quevec city, April 9, 2014)- Family farmers Joan Brady (National Farmers Union of Canada), Ben Burkett (National Family Farm Coalition) and Maxime Laplante (Union paysanne) represented the voices of women, minority, and smaller scale farmers in the U.S. and Canada on April 7th and 8th at the North American Dialogue on Family Farming in Quebec City. All three organizations are members of the world’s largest small and medium-scale farmer and agricultural worker movement, La Via Campesina, which has members in over 70 countries, including seven in North America.

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Evenstad Declaration : Seven measures for strengthening peasant family farming!

(Evenstad, 4 March 2014 ) The peasants gathered together in Norway for the Annual General Assembly of European Coordination Via Campesina and their allies present Seven measures for strengthening peasant family farming, now!

At present, peasant family farming is and remains the most widespread model to produce food in Europe and the world.

For several decades now European farmers have faced a “sink or swim” situation. Costly investments and equipment and increasing farm size have dragged producers into a never-ending downward spiral. Forced “modernisation” is no longer a way to gain access to an improved way of life and comfort, but an end in itself and an obligation. Debts weigh heavily on all, and the most vulnerable are left by the wayside. Food has become just another commodity, and peasants just producers of raw materials. All control has been wrested from their grasp.

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La Via Campesina says small-scale Family Farming Supports Life

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_sustainableagriculture_20130512familyfarminscaled.JPGTo kick off the 2014 International Year of Family Farming the European Commission (EU) recently organized a conference in Brussels. La Via Campesina (LVC) sent men and women farmer leaders from India, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Argentina, the US, Mali, Morocco, Italy, France, Croatia, Romania, Spain and Norway. LVC leaders defended our vision of a peasant- based family farming model and highlighted its vital importance to the European and global economy and its crucial social and environmental benefits. LVC’s vision of family farming is based on agroecological principles and labor intensiveness – and not capital. Our family farms are able to adapt to the infinite diversity of natural, social and economic conditions. Peasant–based, agroecological, small-scale family farms guarantee security and diversity of food for the majority of the people across the globe. They are living examples of social, economic and ecological sustainability. Our model of agriculture provides chemical-free food for local consumption and not for export - to support life, and not speculation

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Statement of the 2014 Farmers’ Forum

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_sustainableagriculture_final_declarationscaled.JPG(Rome, February 21, 2014) We, delegates to the 5th Farmers’ Forum, the representatives of small-scale producer organizations, speaking on behalf of millions of small-scale farmers, artisanal fishers, pastoralists, livestock breeders, and indigenous communities, hereby communicate our opinions and proposals to IFAD and its governing bodies.

IFAD was founded in 1977 to work on behalf of the rural poor. With the creation of the Farmers’ Forum in 2005, it began to work in collaboration with the rural poor. At that time, it was way ahead of the rest of the UN system in opening up to systematic dialogue with organizations representing the intended beneficiaries of its action. Since then, the partnership between IFAD and small-scale producers’ organizations (POs) has brought significant benefits to both sides. IFAD’s image, its working methods and the effectiveness of its programs have profited from its association with our organizations. On our side, we have had some opportunities to bring our concerns to the governing bodies and the staff of IFAD, as well as to gain access to funding for our capacity building programs.

Read more: Statement of the 2014 Farmers’ Forum

Germany : Wir haben es satt! - We are fed up!

Over 30,000 people in Berlin demanding a different agricultural policy and a turning away from industrialized food production

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_sustainableagriculture_Demo_GMO_Berlinscaled.JPG(Berlin, mid-January 2014) “Peasant farming is not modernity remote, poor or underdeveloped. It is a sustainable agricultural model, that uses natural and human resource with respect and guarantees social and food security worldwide. That's what this year's international year of peasant family farms stands for and it is what we stand for today in Berlin” summarizes Carlo Petrini, president of Slow Food International, on the demonstration “Wir haben es satt – We are fed up” in mid-January in Berlin one of the central concerns of the 30.000 demonstrators. On the occasion of the Green Week also this year a broad alliance of over 100 organizations, including farmers, bee-keepers, nature, wildlife, and consumer protectors, development aid organizations and initiatives for unemployed had called for mass demonstration. And those who believed the wave of protest would fade, that consumer would be tired of the struggle against a seemingly all-powerful, because unassailable, agricultural and food industry, was disappointed thoroughly. More demonstrators as in the years before had come to berlin to articulate their demands for a sustainable agriculture and for healthy food.

Read more: Germany : Wir haben es satt! - We are fed up!

2014, international year of family farming: Is it all put on or a true opportunity?

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_sustainableagriculture_2013-23-12exploitation-laitiere.jpg(Brussels, December 2013) On last November 22nd the international year of family farming (YFF) was launched and EU Commissioner for agriculture Dacian Ciolos organized an international conference on November 29th in Brussels. At the same time, Commissioner for external trade Karel de Gucht was packing up for the WTO ministerial conference in Bali. Family farming was not on the agenda over there, but exports, imports, market access,….. To bring then family farming to light during one year, is that all put on or a true opportunity ?

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La Via Campesina Agroecology Trainers in Cuba

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_sustainableagriculture_20131220_Cuba_6.jpg(Havana, December 20, 2013) “Agroecology can double food production in entire regions within ten years, while mitigating climate change and alleviating rural poverty.”

This is the conclusion of Olivier de Schutter, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, in the presentation of his report in March 2011. This statement is based on his research around the world. In the report, he forcefully called upon states to adopt ambitious public policies for supporting agroecology.

For a long time now, agroecology has been promoted within La Via Campesina (LVC) as a paradigm for achieving food sovereignty. Demonstrating this commitment are the more than 40 peasant agroecology schools in existence or being built within the movement. If we are convinced that agroecology is the path, these centers respond to a question that always strikes us as urgent: “how can we spread agroecology?” In this context, the success of the Farmer-to-Farmer method used by the National Small Farmers Assocation (Asociación Nacional de Agricultores Pequeños—ANAP), the LVC member organization in Cuba, is an inspiring example for the movement. ANAP and LVC organized the biannual international encounter of the Farmer to Farmer Agroecological Movement from the 17th to the 24th of November 2013, which was an opportunity for La Via Campesina to learn more about Cuba’s successful experience.

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