09 November, 2011

Activists Of Food Sovereignty And "Occupy Wall Street" Partner Up. Who Knew?

The official MST flag. Image courtesy of flagspot.net.

And now for a little politics mixed in with our food because honestly, everything about food production IS political! Amid all of the Occupy Wall Street action in NYC yesterday, a lovely woman from Brazil arrived in that town not to gloat about Brazil's steadily improving economy or their picturesque beaches. Nope! Janaina Stronzake, a member of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement or Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), which just so happens to be one of the most active peasant agriculture movements out there fighting for food sovereignty, was there to draw parallels between MST's work and the agenda of those occupying financial districts around the world. She had been on the East Coast throughout October to talk about food sovereignty. At the roots, everyone is after the same thing: the empowerment of people and their voices to end the reign of a select few who currently regulate how the world runs either through its devised economic systems or its control of food supplies. 

Janaina Stronzake speaking. Image courtesy of grassrootsonline.org.
As of 2007, an amendment to the Brazilian constitution officially made access to adequate food a human right in the country, largely thanks to the diligent work of the MST and other human rights groups with a similar focus. Ms. Stronzake was in New York to encourage the protestors that if they keep at it and they may just see positive results. PS...over the weekend through till yesterday, Oakland, CA hosted the 15th Annual Food Justice Conference that also addressed many of the issues that Ms. Stronzake fights for on a daily basis. Here and here are a couple of articles by Oakland Local on what went down at the conference. 

On that note, I will end by giving a shameless plug to my Edible Education professor Nikki Henderson (along with Michael Pollan) and her work as the Executive Director at the People's Grocery in in Oakland whose mission according to their website is "To improve the health and economy of West Oakland through the local food system. We pursue positive community change and address social determinants of health through a food lens. We work to ensure that community self-determination plays a large part in the revitalization of low-income neighborhoods." Food sovereignty equals true freedom (and not just the flag-waving, anthem-singing rhetoric of so-called "Patriots" that like to throw that word around a lot with little comprehension as to what it means exactly) and therefore is worth the fight.

Image courtesy of peoplesgrocery.org.

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