Quantcast

Black and Afro-Indigenous Farmers Share 2015 Food Sovereignty Prize

Food

In this moment when it is vital to assert that Black lives matter, the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance honors Black and Afro-Indigenous farmers, fishermen and stewards of ancestral lands and water. We especially commemorate them as a vital part of our food and agriculture system—growers and workers who are creating food sovereignty, meaning a world with healthy, ecologically produced food and democratic control over food systems.

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives is the domestic winner of the 2015 Food Sovereignty Prize. Photo credit: U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance

In 2015, the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance’s two prize winners are: the Federation of Southern Cooperatives in the U.S. and the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras.

The Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras is the international winner of the 2015 Food Sovereignty Prize. Photo credit: U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives strengthens a vital piece of food sovereignty: helping keep lands in the hands of family farmers, in this case primarily African-American farmers. The federation was born in 1967 out of the civil rights movement. Its members are farmers in 10 Southern states, approximately 90 percent of them African-American, but also Native American, Latino and White.

Federation of Southern Cooperatives strengthens a vital piece of food sovereignty: helping keep lands in the hands of primarily African-American family farmer. Photo credit: U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance

The federation’s work is today more important than ever, given that African-American-owned farms in the U.S. have fallen from 14 percent to 1 percent in fewer than 100 years. To help keep farms Black- and family-owned, the federation promotes land-based cooperatives; provides training in sustainable agriculture and forestry, management and marketing; and speaks truth to power in local courthouses, state legislatures and the halls of the U.S. Congress.

Ben Burkett, farmer, Mississippi Association of Cooperatives director and National Family Farm Coalition board president, said, “Our view is local production for local consumption. It’s just supporting mankind as family farmers. Everything we’re about is food sovereignty, the right of every individual on Earth to wholesome food, clean water, air and land and the self-determination of a community to grow and eat what they want. We just recognize the natural flow of life. It’s what we’ve always done.”

Read page 1

The Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras

The grassroots organization the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras was created in 1979 to protect the economic, social and cultural rights of 46 Garifuna communities along the Atlantic coast of Honduras. At once Afro-descendent and indigenous, the Garifuna people are connected to both the land and the sea and sustain themselves through farming and fishing. Land grabs for agrofuels (African palm plantations), tourist-resort development and narco-trafficking seriously threaten their way of life, as do rising sea levels and the increased frequency and severity of storms due to climate change.

The Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras was created in 1979 to protect the economic, social, and cultural rights of 46 Garifuna communities along the Atlantic coast of Honduras. Photo credit: U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance

The Garifuna, who have already survived slavery and colonialism, are now defending and strengthening their land security and their sustainable, small-scale farming and fishing. The Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras brings together communities to meet these challenges head-on through direct-action community organizing, national and international legal action, promotion of Garifuna culture and movement-building. In its work, the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras especially prioritizes the leadership development of women and youth.

“Our liberation starts because we can plant what we eat. This is food sovereignty. There is a big job to do in Honduras and everywhere, because people have to know that they need to produce to bring the autonomy and the sovereignty of our peoples. If we continue to consume [only], it doesn’t matter how much we shout and protest. We need to become producers. It’s about touching the pocketbook, the surest way to overcome our enemies. It’s also about recovering and reaffirming our connections to the soil, to our communities, to our land,” says Coordinator Miriam Miranda.

The Food Sovereignty Prize will be awarded on the evening of Oct. 14 in Des Moines, Iowa. The Food Sovereignty Prize challenges the view that simply producing more food through industrial agriculture and aquaculture will end hunger or reduce suffering. The world currently produces more than enough food, but unbalanced access to wealth means the inadequate access to food. Real solutions protect the rights to land, seeds and water of family farmers and indigenous communities worldwide and promote sustainable agriculture through agroecology. The communities around the world who struggle to grow their food and take care of their land have long known that destructive political, economic and social policies, as well as militarization.

The U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance represents a network of food producers and labor, environmental, faith-based, social justice and anti-hunger advocacy organizations. Additional supporters of the 2015 Food Sovereignty Prize include Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-Des Moines chapter and the Small Planet Fund.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Trace Your Food Back to the Farm With RealTimeFarms.com

5 Next Steps in the Big Food Fight

Vertical Farms: The Future of Agriculture?

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Wesley Martinez Da Costa / EyeEm / Getty Images

By David R. Montgomery

Would it sound too good to be true if I was to say that there was a simple, profitable and underused agricultural method to help feed everybody, cool the planet, and revitalize rural America? I used to think so, until I started visiting farmers who are restoring fertility to their land, stashing a lot of carbon in their soil, and returning healthy profitability to family farms. Now I've come to see how restoring soil health would prove as good for farmers and rural economies as it would for the environment.

Read More Show Less
skaman306 / Moment / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Radish (Raphanus sativus) is a cruciferous vegetable that originated in Asia and Europe (1Trusted Source).

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Tinnakorn Jorruang / iStock / Getty Images

By Dan Nosowitz

The budding research on cannabidiol, or CBD, attracts a great deal of interest in the agricultural field.

Read More Show Less
Oksana Khodakovskaia / iStock / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a tree native to China that's prized for its sweet, citrus-like fruit.

Read More Show Less

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new numbers that show vaping-related lung illnesses are continuing to grow across the country, as the number of fatalities has climbed to 33 and hospitalizations have reached 1,479 cases, according to a CDC update.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
During the summer, the Arctic tundra is usually a thriving habitat for mammals such as the Arctic fox. Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Reports of extreme snowfall in the Arctic might seem encouraging, given that the region is rapidly warming due to human-driven climate change. According to a new study, however, the snow could actually pose a major threat to the normal reproductive cycles of Arctic wildlife.

Read More Show Less
Vegan rice and garbanzo beans meals. Ella Olsson / Pexels

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

One common concern about vegan diets is whether they provide your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Many claim that a whole-food, plant-based diet easily meets all the daily nutrient requirements.

Read More Show Less
A fracking well looms over a residential area of Liberty, Colorado on Aug. 19. WildEarth Guardians / Flickr

A new multiyear study found that people living or working within 2,000 feet, or nearly half a mile, of a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drill site may be at a heightened risk of exposure to benzene and other toxic chemicals, according to research released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)

Read More Show Less