What do love letters have to do with farming?

2017-01-16 Agroecology training.jpgWriting love letters may seem like an unusual activity for a course on farming and agroecology. But, in this course, young farmer-students proposed to their imaginary partners in their letters, commenting on their realizations about gender. “I realized that we place so many conditions on women,” wrote one student. A key reflection of the entire course was that shifting to agroecology and sustainable agriculture isn’t just about a change in production models, its as much about changing the relationships we have--including between genders.

Indians, as is the case in many countries around the world, have unrealistic expectations of women, and this is especially evident in the marriage market – women should be light skinned, they should be conventionally attractive, they should be educated but be ready to turn into submissive housewives, they should uphold caste norms, they should know how to cook and clean, and on and on. Rarely do women have a say in any important decision concerning their own lives. 

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Political declaration: International Meeting of the Struggling Youth – Women of Kobane

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-09-15-Youth_foto6.jpgWe come from 43 nations, and 4 continents. We have different cultures, life experiences and we speak different languages. Although this diversity, there is something that unites us beyond being part of the same generation: the systemic violence that we all are subjected. This condition conforms to our identity that expressed internationally in the struggle, as a form of resistance from youth to imperialism.

Gathered in the city of Maricá, Rio de Janeiro - Brazil between 21 and 25 June 2016, we young fighters over 115 organizations, conducted the International Meeting of Struggling Youth - Women Kobane. These days we reaffirm our commitment to building an international articulation of Struggling Youth, with anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist, anti-capitalist, anti-neoliberal and anti- patriarchal character.

We live in a period of multiple crises, which calls into question the capitalist system, as we know it. Witnessed the worsening of the global economic crisis, which began in 2008 in the center of the system, and now spreading globally, causing a brutal increase of unemployment, poverty, massive immigration flows. Despite the wars promoted by imperialism as a means of accelerating economic activity and expand the domination and exploitation of territories and resources, there is not a way out of perspective to this crisis. With this, the violence of capital enhances the social crisis, causing police repression, genocide of the poorest people, especially the youth.

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Building global alliances and convergences for alternatives to capitalism

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-08-30-Youth_Brasil_Summit.jpgLa Vía Campesina Youth Participate in Brazil’s 2016 ‘International Summit for Struggling Youth’: Building global alliances and convergences for alternatives to capitalism 

From June 21 to 26, 280 youth from four continents and 115 organizations participated in the International Summit for Struggling Youth (Encuentro Internacional de la Juventude en la Lucha) in Maricá, Brazil. The meeting was convened by three Brazilian organizations — Levante Popular da Juventude/Brazil (Popular Youth Uprising), the Articulation of Social Movements toward ALBA and La Vía Campesina’s Landless Workers’ Movement (MST). A central outcome was a declaration that the youth delegates will take back to their organizations to discuss future involvement to create a global international coordinating body for youth struggles. The proposed coordinating body would facilitate joint actions and solidarity among rural and urban youth and among youth in different parts of the world. This global youth movement may offer the youth of the National Farmers Union an opportunity to contribute to and learn from their counterparts in related movements, including those working on education, housing and access to land.

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Youth and agriculture: Join the European food sovereignty movement!

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-03-28-Youth_and_Agric.jpegFirst published in Farming Matters | 32.1 | March 2016

The food sovereignty movement is, in itself, a process of knowledge co-creation. Ludwig Rumetshofer, a young farmer from Austria, and Sylvia Kay, a Netherlands-based researcher invite us to participate in the second Nyéléni Europe Forum for Food Sovereignty in October 2016, in Romania.

Between the 26th and 30th of October in Cluj Napoca, Romania, the second Nyéléni Europe Forum for Food Sovereignty will be held. Drawing together between 700 – 1000 older and younger participants from 42 countries throughout wider Europe, it will serve as a celebration of the full spectrum of the food sovereignty movement comprising peasants and small farmers, fishers, pastoralists, shepherds, indigenous peoples, trade unions, consumers groups, NGOs, local authorities, researchers and many others.

The richness and diversity of the movement shows how increasing numbers of people, organisations and networks are coalescing around the shared language of food sovereignty and agroecology. It is also testament to the vast knowledge that is being co-created by these groups on how to organise food and agricultural systems that work both for people and the environment. It is crucial that those who care for, work on, live on the land and produce plentiful and healthy food are at the centre of that system.

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