500 which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, is set in the years between 2013 and 2016. It documents the trial of the former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt in 2013, who was tried and convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity, when it was found that there was significant evidence that linked him to the ordered killing of over 1,700 indigenous people. 500 years tells the story of this period and the citizens uprising that began when Montt’s conviction was overturned.
The Landworkers Alliance, is an organisation based in UK made up of farmers, growers and land workers working together to find solutions to the shared challenges they face, and raising awareness about the contributions that they make to their communities. In Our Hands, is their documentary, made to share their quiet revolution with the world. It is a beautiful and inspiring documentary which reminds us that we hold the seeds of a better food system and a sustainable environment in our hands.
To read more about the Landworkers Alliance and the work that they do click HERE
We can do this
Have you been listening to Earth Matters?? This fabulous podcast series gives voice to indigenous activists, environmentalists, and people around the globe working for social justice. We cannot recommend it highly enough. Hailing from Australia’s community radio station 3CR AM, Radical Radio, you can stream episodes online or download straight form iTunes.
The link above will bring you to this past Sunday’s episode, “Creative Dissent: the pen (and voice is mightier),” which spans themes of deep connection to land, climate change, colonialism, “nationalism, nuclear disaster, direct action and love on the frontlines” in the voices of actives poets.
International Conference on Agrarian Reform
La Via Campesino, The Peasant’s Movement
Marabá, 15 April 2016
From 13 to 17 April 2016, in Marabá, Pará, Brazil, more than 130 delegates from 28 countries around the world were brought together as part of La Vía Campesina and allied movements, as part of the International Conference on Agrarian Reform, a symbol of the fight for freedom for men and women in the fields, the mangroves and on the sea. The aim of the conference was to draw up a much-needed proposal for Popular Agrarian Reform to override capitalist and neoliberal expansion.
At this time of struggle and resistance for peoples of the world, we debated thecriminalisation, persecution and judicialization of the struggle for the defense of life, rights, land, water, seeds and mother earth, promoted by capitalist interests imposing political, economic, military and social terrorism. This all occurs with the consent of State Governments by means of their lethal projects such as extraction-based infrastructure projects, or capitalist ‘development’ (tourism, carbon markets, mining, hydroelectricity, monoculture, agribusiness, industrial agriculture and mariculture), as well as the militarisation of our lands. Deprivation, social instability and repression are widespread as a result of systematic assassinations, massacres, forced disappearances, high rates of femicide, imprisonment and arbitrary detention, intimidation, harassment and threats, prosecution of leaders, forced migration and wars against ordinary people.
On top of this there is political instability with the purpose of maintaining an imbalance among populations over the world, as well as frequent coups on the US government’s radar, a state which begins by creating unstable, failed states, as is the case in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Paraguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, South Africa, and the current attempted coup against the Brazilian people and the systematic meddling in the Venezuelan process.
We see collusion between the State, private companies, corporations and elites who create a culture of impunity that allows perpetrators to escape unpunished.
Faced with this wave of unbridled criminalisation of those of us who defend water, land, mangroves, sea, territory and life, we denounce and call for the punishment of those responsible for thousands of assassinations of social leaders, we denounce the legal prosecution of thousands of campaigners, we call for the liberation of thousands of political prisoners, we denounce the extreme case of the assassination of Berta Cáceres, one of the most symbolic leaders in the fight against capital plundering and a campaigner for peace in Honduras. We urgently need an end to the criminalization of the fight for land, mangroves and sea, and the social struggle.
Today, more than ever, we reaffirm that our fight is part of the defence of human rights and life. For life we give everything, for death we give nothing.
Throughout our lifelong struggle, not one moment of silence for our dead!
La Via Campesino is an international movement that seeks to unite peasants, landless, woman farmers, and rural youth to fight to defend and promote small-scale sustainable agriculture as a lifestyle and livelihood. Read more about their work here! And check out our 2011 blog post about their food sovereignty youth training program.
FORUM ON LAND USE, RIGHTS AND ECOLOGY
A CONFERENCE EXPLORING LAND AND THE FOOD SYSTEM: HOW LAND AFFECTS WHAT WE EAT, WHO WE ARE, AND THE ENVIRONMENT WE LIVE IN
March 25–26, 2016
Wasserstein Hall, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
This year’s Just Food? conference will examine the relationship between people and land, primarily through agriculture and food. Conference events will explore the legal, moral, policy, health, historic and environmental aspects of our modern domestic and international food system, with a focus on the intersection of land and justice. The conference will bring together scholars, farmers, activists, practitioners, and other authorities to discuss the growing concerns about who has access to land, how agriculture changes land, and who is marginalized or dispossessed by our current system. Our goal is to educate attendees, empower them to make changes, and engage them in a larger dialogue about food.
A full conference schedule, when it becomes available, will be posted. But please feel free to register here now!
Impact of Site C Dam on B.C. Farmland Far More Dire Than Reported, Local Farmers Show
“Clay and Katy Peck are just the type of young farming family that B.C. Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick says his government wants to support to ensure “a reliable food source for years to come.”
The Pecks own a 65-hectare farm in the Agricultural Land Reserve overlooking the Peace River, and are preparing for organic certification of a fruit and vegetable business to serve the northern area around Fort St. John.
The couple’s farm is high enough above the Peace River that it is not included in BC Hydro’s tally of 6,469 hectares of farmland — an area larger than all the farmland in Richmond — that will be destroyed by the Site C dam and its vast reservoir.
But the Pecks, along with other Peace Valley farmers, stand to lose significant amounts of farmland and crops to Site C in previously uncounted ways. The likely impact of Site C on agricultural land has been routinely underreported and will be far more dire than widely expected, according to scientists and information found in BC Hydro reports.
Work on the $8.8 billion dam project began in August and continues around the clock despite three on-going court cases by First Nations, missing federal government permits, and BC Hydro’s continuing failure to demonstrate the need for Site C electricity.
In addition to the agricultural land BC Hydro counts as permanently lost to Site C, another 5,900 hectares of farmland falls within what BC Hydro calls a “stability impact zone” and is at risk of destruction. BC Hydro insists a further 1,125 hectares of farmland — an area about the size of four Stanley Parks — will be lost only on a “temporary” basis during the next 10 years, but farmers and a soil scientist question whether topsoil on the land can ever be replaced.
The list of agricultural land lost temporarily to Site C includes 203 hectares of agricultural land in a Flood Impact Zone that may experience “crop losses when flooding occurs,” according to BC Hydro. Collapsing Peace River banks will create a landslide-generated wave that will sweep over an additional 174 hectares of prime farmland. Since water will not remain on the fields forever, BC Hydro does not include these areas in its tally of permanently lost farmland, even though flooding and waves can cause soil erosion and leave behind debris.
“In my view this is a permanent loss,” says Vancouver soil scientist Eveline Wolterson. “It’s like a tsunami. Essentially what it does is it eats away at topsoil. It will all get washed into the reservoir. They’ll never be able to restore those soils.””
The evidence base is growing: strengthening women’s land rights contributes to women’s empowerment and household welfare.
Evidence is also showing that women who have more secure land tenure are more likely to plant trees or make other investments to improve the land and generate ecosystem services. This means efforts to improve women’s land rights can also create enabling conditions for land restoration.
But strengthening women’s land rights isn’t that simple. Unfortunately, there’s also evidence that changing property rights is not an easy process in any case. There are always vested interests to protect the status quo, especially when it comes to something as important as land rights. And when it comes to women’s property rights, there are additional layers of gender norms that make it even more challenging to bring about changes.
To read more, Click HERE!
Land for Good By Caroline Tremblay via the Keene Sentinel For farmers who are just starting out, gaining access to land that fits their needs is often incredibly challenging. Not only is finding available land an issue, but other factors including affordability, location, and housing also come into play. On the other end of the spectrum, there are farmers who have been working their land for years and are ready to pass it on. But succession planning can be extremely overwhelming. Enter Land for Good, a 10-year old organization based in Keene that creates opportunities by connecting farmers with land. They provide online guides, host educational workshops and events, and offer donation or grant funded one-on-one consulting that ranges from overthe- phone advising to long-term collaborations. Land for Good’s new Executive Director, Jim Hafner, says, “We’re on the front edge of this land access issue.” CONTINUE READING or VISIT LAND FOR GOOD’S WEBSITE
There is a wealth of information and data online about land governance. However, much of this content is fragmented and difficult to locate, and often it is not openly licensed to enable wide dissemination and reuse. Grassroots knowledge may be particularly hard to find, or may not be available online, and the data and information available is often not presented in ways that are accessible to grassroots communities, media and organizations. Bringing this information together in one place through the Land Portal, actively addressing gaps in the available information, and providing a range of ways for the information to be accessed and shared will increase the use and usefulness of the available information.
This will support more informed debates and policy making, and greater adoption and up scaling of best practices and promising innovations, leading to improve land governance practice. Through a focus on localization of content creation and use, the Land Portal will contribute to the cultivation of information and creation of interfaces and tools that help tip the balance of power towards the most marginalized and insecure, promoting greater social justice in land tenure practices.
The Portal allows for the collection, sourcing, and searching of otherwise fragmented and inaccessible data and information on land governance and land use from diverse sources, produced by governments, academia, international organizations, indigenous peoples and NGOs. Besides documenting land rights, the Portal also encourages social information exchange, debate and networking.
When Glynn Lloyd couldn’t source enough locally grown produce, he decided to grow his own.
Since 1994, Lloyd has run City Fresh Foods, a catering company based in Roxbury—one of Boston’s lowest-income neighborhoods. He wanted his business to use locally produced food, but at that time it was hard to come by. So in 2009 Lloyd helped found City Growers, one of Boston’s first for-profit farming ventures.
Today, City Growers is part of an emerging network of urban food enterprises in Roxbury and neighboring Dorchester. From a community land trust that preserves land for growing, to kitchens and retailers who buy and sell locally grown food, to a new waste management co-op that will return compost to the land, a crop of new businesses and nonprofits are building an integrated food economy. It’s about local people keeping the wealth of their land and labor in the community.
“We don’t need big corporations like Walmart to come in and save us,” Lloyd said. “We have homegrown solutions right here.”
Read the full article on Truthout!