“Artists for Food Sovereignty”: Call for Solidarity Action from Artists around the world

Art must show the world as changeable. And help to change it”. Ernst Fischer

(Harare, 18 July 2021) La Via Campesina launches its international call to action, “Artists for Food Sovereignty“, as part of the International Day of Action for Peoples’ Food Sovereignty and against Transnational corporations (16 October 2021).

This year, we celebrate 25 years of peasant-led efforts and campaign in our communities to bring food sovereignty to reality – healthy diets, healthy soils, healthy seeds, agroecology etc – and continue to resist the capitalist model. This vision, of relating to nature and with one another harmoniously, practised for thousands of years was put into words by La Via Campesina and allies at the 1996 World Food Summit in Rome. We defined “Food Sovereignty” as the right of people to autonomously produce healthy, nutritious, climatically, and culturally appropriate food, using local resources and through agroecological means, primarily to address the local food needs of their communities. Throughout the past 25 years, the formation of Food Sovereignty has contributed to strengthening a model of society that prioritises life.

Food sovereignty, among the multitude of ideas that it encompasses, is also about defending the billion diversities that exist on this planet, and is a celebration of our many unique practices, tastes, cultures and customs. An important pillar in this struggle for food sovereignty is the role played by popular rural cultures, of peasants, fisherfolk, family farmers and Indigenous Peoples. Art and popular communication are vital tools of expression, exchange and resistance in peasant and indigenous cultures worldwide.

It is in this context that La Via Campesina launches its international call to action, “Artists for Food Sovereignty“, as we build up our efforts towards October 16, 2021 – The International Day of Action for Peoples’ Food Sovereignty and against Transnational corporations.

Artists for Food Sovereignty” attempts to gather audio-visual expressions of the historical struggles and resistance led by peasants, food artisans, indigenous peoples, fishers, shepherds, the landless, women, agricultural wage earners, migrants, and youth worldwide, to defend our way of life and livelihoods.

Through this International Call for Solidarity Action, La Via Campesina is encouraging progressive artists around the world to send us diverse materials in the form of music, video clips, poetry, paintings, photographs, illustrations, documentaries and podcasts.

Artists and Multimedia producers could take inspiration from any of the themes listed below:

1. Specific experiences of Food Sovereignty- Peasant Cooperatives, Rural fairs, Seeds, Agroecological Schools, Community Radio, etc.

2. Challenges and Threats posed by Industrial Agricultural politics and its impact on agrarian reform, land grabbing, climate change and criminalisation of social movements.

3. The dispute between the peasant agroecological model of production and the industrial model of agribusinesses.

4. The urgency of a new society that is built on the principles of global solidarity, internationalism and social justice.

In 2016, the musical group Che Sudaka dedicated the song “Cuando será” (When it will be) to La Vía Campesina in their fight for Food Sovereignty.

You that cultivate fields, You that cultivate dreams You with your friends, Collect the food For you, I present this song, So that you feel inspiration That you know you are not alone, There are many fighting against time.”

Additionally, several supporters, activists, friends and allies of LVC have been inspired by our fight. They have captured this art in paintings, poems and murals, songs and various other forms of expression.

Last year, during the COVID 19 pandemic, Francisco Daniel, a friend of Movement Without Land, painted the main image of our campaign #TimetoTransform; check out this beautiful video of the painter’s artistic process.

We want to unite these beautiful artistic expressions in favour of Food Sovereignty and share them with you all in a Virtual Gallery during October 2021 as part of the International Day of the Action – For Food Sovereignty, Against Multinational CompaniesWe have set out to gather all the materials from August until September of 2021. 

These materials also will contribute to the spread, communication and political formation of La Via Campesina, uniting collective forces for a transformation and liberation project. It is an attempt to break away from the alienation caused by a mass-media culture. These art forms are symbolic of our resistance against the corporate-political nexus and their economic, cultural, and political oppression of the rural areas.  

This call for artistic expression centres around the theme of Food Sovereignty. The text below serves as a close guide to how we understand Food Sovereignty within the movement. Artists are free to interpret this vision of Food Sovereignty and base it in their socio-cultural and political context. 

Food Sovereignty “is the people’s right to healthy food and culturally suitable products through sustainable and environmentally friendly methods. It is also the right of the people to define their agricultural food systems. Food sovereignty is intrinsically linked to the debate over what we envision for rural areas and what type of development should be applied. It is about defining what kind of food to produce and why? To prioritise production for local markets, in line with a culture of local and regional consumption. It defends the interests and the inclusion of future generations. It offers a strategy to resist and dismantle the current regime of corporate food trade and points at the nutritional, rural, pastoralist and fishing systems determined by local producers. Food Sovereignty prioritises the local and national economies and markets, empowers rural and family agriculture, traditional fisheries and shepherding and the production, distribution and consumption of food based on environmental, social and economic sustainability. Food Sovereignty promotes transparent trade that guarantees a fair income to everyone and the rights for the consumers to food and nutrition. It assures that the rights to collectively own and manage our lands, water, seeds, livestock and biodiversity so that these means of production remain in the hands of those who produce the food. Food Sovereignty involves new social relationships free from oppression and inequality between men and women, differences, peoples, racial groups, social classes and generations. “

Let this be a moment to transform our resistance through music, poems, documentaries and inspiring images that expose the urgency of Food Sovereignty as a solution against hunger, climate change and authoritarianism.

  • Information: title of the work, full name, country, organisation (optional), social media profiles (optional)
  • Language: mainly in Spanish, English, French but local languages are welcome with the respective translation (Reduce the text for best accessibility)
  • Formats: Video, audio, Word, Jpg or PDFs, without borders, backgrounds or watermarks.
  • Deadline of reception: 16 September 2021
  • Email: Email all the materials with the subject “Llamado Artistas por la Soberanía Alimentaria” to lvcweb@viacampesina.org with a copy (CC) to Viviana.rojas@viacampesina.org.

La Via Campesina will select and curate from the compiled material and exhibit them in a virtual gallery that will be available on the website of LVC. The curated work will also be distributed as a digital catalogue, acknowledging the contribution of each artist.