Globalising Hope – The courageous journey of La Via Campesina

Excerpt from a special new report prepared by the team at A Growing Culture, who attended the 8th International Conference of La Via Campesina in Bogota in December 2023.

It’s become common to hear that urban bubbles are growing ever more disconnected from human relationships with the land, but the harsh reality is that even rural communities are being stripped from their cultural roots, their knowledge, their joy, and their pride in working the land. In regions of the world that used to be fertile and abundant with hundreds, even thousands, of foods, the very basis of our nourishment and sustenance has been eroded by the devastating wave of agroindustrial dominance.

This cultural amnesia of the rural world has silently permeated generation after generation, leading to an alarming rate of rural abandonment. While generalising would be unfair to the many young farmers who stand alongside their communities to preserve their heritage and farming practices, it is concerning to think of a future without the youth on the frontlines of food sovereignty.

In their 5th International Youth Assembly Declaration, young members of La Via Campesina broke down the many issues pushing youth away from agricultural aspirations: Limited access to land, escalating violence and worker abuse, forced displacement, the rise of ag-tech and false climate solutions, among others. In response to this dire landscape, the youth actively advocates for integral and popular agrarian reform, public policies for fair access to land, political education, and peasant agroecology.

As the motto of the 8th Conference explains, “In the face of global crises, we build food sovereignty to guarantee a future for humanity.” It is in peasant perspectives and their solutions that we find hope for our present and future.