Black farmers’ lives matter: Defending African-American land and agriculture in the deep south

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2015-10-07-Ben_Burkett_Black_farmers.jpgBy Beverly Bell, Other Worlds*

October 5, 2015

The 2015 US Food Sovereignty Prize goes to two organizations that are demonstrating just how much Black lives matter, as they defend their ancestral lands for community-controlled food production. The Federation of Southern Cooperatives, primarily African-American farmers across the deep South, shares the prize with the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras, Afro-indigenous farmers and fisher-people. The prize will be presented in Des Moines on October 14, 2015.

Food sovereignty goes beyond ensuring that people have enough food to meet their physical needs. It asserts that citizens everywhere must reclaim their power in food systems by rebuilding the relationships between people and the land, and between food providers and those who eat. 
The US Food Sovereignty Alliance upholds the right to food as a basic human right and works to connect our local and national struggles to the international movement for food sovereignty.

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European Milk Plan: A single drop of water to put out a huge fire

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_Milk_press_2015-09-14.jpgNobody, not even the Commission or the ministers, can predict whether these measures will lead to a stabilisation of the market and an increase in milk prices

(Brussels, Thursday 10, September 2015) On Monday 7 September, the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) carried out a demonstration in Brussels alongside the European Milk Board (EMB) to call for the implementation of measures to control production volumes, which are the only mechanisms capable of ensuring that fair milk prices are set.

Thousands of milk producers, including young producers, made their presence felt at the event to push for the 28 ministers for agriculture of the European Union, gathered at the extraordinary Council meeting, to adopt real measures that can provide an effective solution to the quagmire brought about by the liberalisation of the dairy sector as a result of international market saturation.

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Small-scale farmers must be put at the heart of UK’s food strategy

2015-04-LWA-logo-small.jpg(UK, August 2, 2015) The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has recently started drawing up a long-term strategy for food and farming. While the Landworker’s Alliance (LWA) agrees that a strategic approach is needed to address the challenges facing food and farming, we are extremely concerned that small-scale and family farmers have been excluded from the process. It is essential that Defra recognise the central role that small-scale and family farmers play in UK food and farming, and responds directly to their needs.

The LWA argues that we cannot create a sustainable future for food within the industrial framework that Defra is currently strengthening. Instead we need a National Food Policy based on food sovereignty principles, that puts power into the hands of people to create a more just and equitable food system. The strategy must focus on providing farmers with viable livelihoods and achieving self-sufficiency in food while addressing the key challenges of climate change, soil degradation, an ageing farming population and a lack of access to land and training for new entrants.

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Milk Crisis: Small scale farmers' opinions

2015-08-12 walking-with-Cows.jpgLWA Press Release 

(UK, August 12, 2012) In the light of the current collapse in milk prices the Land Workers Alliance has issued the following policy statement.

The Alliance Landworkers supports the protests against the collapse in milk prices organized by Farmers For Action in Britain, and by numerous farming organizations throughout Europe, including Via Campesina. 

Many members of the Landworkers’ Alliance who produce milk and dairy products are not affected by the collapse in prices because they process and sell their milk directly through local outlets. However the LWA wishes to see a thriving mainstream dairy industry based on small-scale family farms, and supports measures necessary to protect such farms from the vagaries of the global market.

Simon Fairlie, who runs a micro-dairy in Dorset and is LWA's spokesman for dairy issues, stated: "Today's average sized dairy farm with 133 cows produces milk with a retail value of about three quarters of a million pounds. It is a staggering indictment of our economic system that we can't even pay these farmers a living wage."

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