Press release – La Via Campesina
(Jakarta, October 5, 2012) The international farmers movement, La Via Campesina, congratulates its member organization, the Korean Women’s Peasant Association (KWPA), for being selected to receive the fourth annual Food Sovereignty Prize on October 10, 2012, in New York City. This event, hosted by WhyHunger and co-sponsored by the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance and allies, champions the grassroots groups that practice and defend the right of people to determine their own food and agriculture policies.
The Korean Women’s Peasant Association is a national organization of women farmers based in Seoul, South Korea, that has developed the practice of food sovereignty within the framework of women’s rights. The industrial food system has resulted in structures and systems that harm women in ways ranging from devaluing women’s work feeding their families to corporate patenting of seeds developed over generations by women farmers to lower wages and forced labor. South Korea is a male-dominated society and a highly industrialized country, with less than seven percent of the population employed in agriculture. Farmlands are quickly making way for growing cities, the government has signed far-reaching free trade agreements and corporations are taking over the agricultural industry.
In this context, KWPA, alongside the Korean Peasants League and one hundred-plus additional organizations, created the National Campaign Task Force to defend food sovereignty throughout the country. Locally, KWPA runs hands-on training programs: Our Sisters Garden links women farmers and local consumers to ensure a sustainable and healthy food supply while preserving the rights of women peasants; the Native Seed Campaign focuses on native seed preservation in farming communities.
“At the international level, KWPA has been an active member of La Via Campesina for years, leading strong global campaigns against the WTO and bilateral free trade agreements with the United States and European Union,” said Henry Saragih, general coordinator of La Via Campesina.
Dena Hoff, a U.S. farmer with the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) and member of La Via Campesina’s international coordinating committee, said, “KWPA have also defended women equality with men and food sovereignty in the whole international movement.”
After accepting their award in New York City, KWPA representatives will travel to Madison, Wisconsin, and to several communities in Iowa. In Wisconsin they will be hosted by members of Family Farm Defenders, who were presented the 2010 Food Sovereignty Prize. In Iowa they will meet with more family farmers and food sovereignty advocates at events around the state, including an appearance at the Des Moines Public Library on October 16, World Food Day. These events will also highlight the sharp contrast between
the principles of food sovereignty and the agribusiness-friendly messages promoted by the World Food Prize Foundation, which will present its annual award during events in Des Moines the same week.
Kathy Ozer, NFFC
Phone: (202) 543-5675
We will be livestreaming the Prize ceremony at www.foodsovereigntyprize.org. It will be live at 7 pm EST on October 10 (8 am on October 11 Seoul time)