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Groups Defending Human Rights to Food and Water Receive Food Sovereignty Prize

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Groups Defending Human Rights to Food and Water Receive Food Sovereignty Prize

The US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA), a network of organizations working to assert food and water as basic human rights and advocate for community control rather than the industrial food model as the solution to world hunger, has named Palestine's Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and Bellingham, Washington's Community to Community Development/Comunidad a Comunidad (C2C) as co-recipients of its 2014 Food Sovereignty Prize.

Workers harvest olives in Palestine. Photo credit: UAWC

While seemingly far-flung, each fights for a community whose access to a reliable food supply is threatened.

Palestine's story is widely known, of course, with news of bombings in the headlines almost every day. But beyond the dramatic and heart-wrenching stories of schools and apartment buildings destroyed and hundreds of civilians, including children killed, is the story of the struggle for daily survival in Gaza and the West Bank.

UAWC aims to mitigate the impacts of war by creating farm cooperatives and seed banks while fighting for the right to food, land and water.

Washington State is not experiencing war, but the situation for the migrant immigrant farm workers, often undocumented, that are essential to its agricultural economy is challenging as well. Community to Community Development helps by developing farm worker-owned cooperatives, organizing a successful nutrition education project called Cocinas Sanas, promoting domestic fair trade, supporting a new farm worker union and organizing a national boycott of Sakuma Farms, which has withheld pay, provided poor housing and retaliated against the workers.

“In honoring Community to Community, the USFSA honors indigenous farmworkers in the U.S. displaced by NAFTA," said C2C executive director Rosalinda Guillen. "These peasant farmers from Mexico are practicing a tradition of struggle for justice. Together, C2C and Familias Unidas are promoting food sovereignty in rural Washington State and challenging the corporate agricultural interests that are controlling our food system."

The prize will be awarded in Des Moines, Iowa on Oct. 15.

For the sixth year in a row, the Food Sovereignty Prize is an exciting opportunity to highlight the hard work that small-scale farmers, farmworkers and other food producers do to feed their communities and create lasting solutions to the root causes of hunger, climate change and poverty," said Sara Mersha, director of grantmaking and advocacy at Grassroots International. "These successful strategies are the alternative to the damaging effects of the corporate agribusiness model, proving that, in the words of Arundhati Roy, ‘another world is possible [and] she is on her way.’ Grassroots International is proud to stand with the US Food Sovereignty Alliance in recognizing and celebrating this year's winners!” 

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