FROM THE WEB
Manning & the Law
CROSSING THE LINE
Corruption in U.S.
Activism Not a Crime
War in Arizona
James Patrick Jordan
Hyatt v. UNITE-HERE
Medicare for All
Chamber & Capitalism
Savage Imperialism 4
"No Progressive Champion"
CULTURE & FILM
The Gay Oscars
Saviors and Survivors
Zaps - 03/11
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
The Food Sovereignty Movement
It is a basic tenet that a community's food supply should be healthy and accessible for everyone. The truth is that local communities have very little control over their food. Corporate food producers dominate the American food system by providing cheap and plentiful food. While this may seem to be a good thing, the food and the processes used don't necessarily guarantee the nutrition or health they purport to provide.
The food companies have created an industrialized agriculture system that uses a multitude of chemicals in fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, as well as genetically-modified products. Some people believe these additives contribute to skyrocketing rates of diabetes, obesity, asthma, food allergies, and other health problems.
Accessibility to good food can also be a problem, especially for lower-income groups in large metropolitan areas who typically do not have grocery stores in their neighborhoods. Instead, these "food deserts" have an ample supply of convenience and liquor stores that stock only snacks and processed foods.
Participants in the food movement actively promote "food sovereignty" by creating substitutes to the industrialized food system, including:
· community-supported agriculture (CSA)
· farmers' markets
· local food, family and neighborhood gardens
· farm-to-school initiatives
· food as economic development
· food policy councils
· food assessment programs
· youth programming and training
Here are some good examples of groups that were honored by the Community Food Security Coalition (www.foodsecurity.org) at its recent annual conference in New Orleans.
Family Farm Defenders
Family Farm Defenders (FFD - familyfarmers.org), a grassroots non-profit organization in Madison, Wisconsin, was founded in 1994 to support the livelihoods of small dairy and vegetable farmers. John Kinsman, president of FFD, began pushing for food sovereignty when he helped protest the injection of bovine growth hormones (rGBH) in dairy cows on the University of Wisconsin campus. Researchers there were beneficiaries of corporate gifts that encouraged and affirmed its use. Even the National Dairy Board promoted rGBH. But, according to Kinsman, no one ever asked the dairy farmers if rGBH helped their production despite Monsanto's claims that it did.
Kinsman worked with former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), who at that time was a state senator, on labeling rGBH milk, which corporate milk producers didn't want to do. A labeling law was eventually passed and it became a model for the organic food movement, which is now trying to label genetically-engineered (GM) foods. Through FFD, Kinsman also worked to re-localize food/farm economies and forge new economic relationships between consumers and farmers. An example of this cooperative effort is the Family Farmer Fair Trade Project that enables FFD to direct market cheese. One outcome of this relationship is that farmers receive a fair price for their products as they provide consumers with rGBH-free alternatives.
"I'm a peasant farmer," said Kinsman who uses this term to differentiate himself from food corporations that are now trying to call themselves "family farmers," just as Monsanto is trying to call itself "green." It is important to note that Family Farm Defenders makes sure that urban people are on its board—40 percent of them—because the board believes that they must be as involved in defending the family farm as the farmers themselves.
Our culture requires us to behave in a certain way and that is centered around food," said Djibo Bagna, of the Network of West African Peasant and Agricultural Producers' Organizations (ROPPA - www.roppa.info). Food policies are usually formulated by people in offices and agriculture is governed only by financial considerations, he said. However, peasants are leaving their farms because they cannot earn a living. "As a food sovereignty council, we first had to decide that we would no longer allow others to speak for us or tell us what kind of agriculture we should have," said Bagna.
Poverty is a rural phenomenon and there typically is no investment in rural areas or credit offered at reasonable rates. ROPPA tried to change this situation and decided that in order to do so, it had to be present at the policy table.
The United Nations Agriculture Policy group was surprised to learn of ROPPA's request. At first it allowed them only one representative, but ROPPA balked. It didn't just want representation, it wanted to shape the policy. When the UN refused to give ROPPA representation, ROPPA promised that it would organize 10,000 farmers to take the streets during the policy group's meetings. The UN capitulated and allowed ROPPA a seat at the table. "You can't have food sovereignty unless you are involved in the debate," said Bagna. "You need funding for farmers to grow food and communication to break down the barriers between policymakers who set the rules and farmers who produce the products. You need agricultural research, value-added products, and dialogue."
Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
Detroit has one of the poorest urban populations in the country. With 50 percent unemployment in the city and a terrible "food desert," a group of school parents, teachers, and administrators decided it was time to act: they would learn how to grow their own food for their children. In 2006, this group became known as the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN - detroitblackfoodsecurity.org). It focuses on urban agriculture, policy development, and cooperative buying. The group observed that "many of the key players in the city's local urban agriculture movement were young whites, who, while well-intentioned, nevertheless exerted a degree of control inordinate to their numbers in Detroit's population," according to its website.
DBCFSN believes that the most effective movements "grow organically from the people whom they are designed to serve." So, the group is creating model urban agricultural projects that seek to build community self-reliance and to change people's consciousness about food. For example, its urban agriculture program planted and maintained a quarter-acre garden in 2006 and a three-quarter-acre mini-farm in 2007. In 2008, it built the D-Town Community Garden where it grows 35 crops, keeps bees, and maintains a vermiculture compost program. All produce is grown using sustainable, chemical-free practices, and sold at the farm sites, the Eastern Market, and markets for urban growers throughout Detroit. The group also holds harvest festivals four times a year.
Policy development, however, is DBCFSN's "jewel in our crown." It has crafted food policy for the city that was adopted by the Detroit City Council. This policy includes provisions for education, economic justice, finding ways to combat hunger, discerning the school's role in food security, advocating and providing for urban agriculture, developing emergency responses to food shortages and food deserts, and forming a food policy council.
With cooperative buying, the network has tried to go beyond the basic co-op model and include food distribution networks. So the network formed a regional system with Detroit, Toledo, Chicago, and Milwaukee in cooperation with the trucking industry. "We didn't do anything that we didn't feel we had to do," said Aba Ifeoma, one of the members of the network.
Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty
Dawn Morrison of the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty (www.indigenousfoodsystems.org) is a member of the Vancouver Island Network that has mobilized people to define the food system in Canada for the indigenous peoples of 27 nations while also working with non-indigenous people.
Morrison pointed out, "We must be free from corporate control to determine where we get our food and how we grow it. We do this in our day to day actions with family and the community. Our policies, meanwhile, must be driven by practice and be community-based."
Food sovereignty means that people have the right to decide what they eat and to ensure that food in their community is healthy and accessible for everyone, according to the Community Food Security Coalition. As we watch our representative government crumble through corporate influence, political corruption and hate speech, we can look to the food sovereignty movement to remind us how democracy really works. Then, let's hope that spirit will spread.
Olga Bonfiglio is currently a professor and acting chairperson of the Education Department at Kalamazoo College. She is also a freelance writer focusing on religion, social justice, and urban issues.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.