This was one of the oft-repeated refrains of the VIIth International Conference of La Via Campesina, the global movement of peasant farmers who gathered in the Basque region of Spain for a week in July, which called for more peasants – people of the land – in places like Europe, the US, and even Australia, where we have so profoundly lost our connection and care for the land and its inhabitants.
Over a stimulating five days of talking, listening, singing, dancing, and marching in the streets, some 600 peasant farmers from across the globe came together in solidarity to ‘globalise our struggles and localise our hope’.
We heard the devastating consequences of land grabbing in all corners of the globe, with farmers forced off the land and into low-paid farm worker positions with no tenure as transnational corporations buy up the land and turn it over to monocultures.
We wept at the human rights abuses in Honduras, South Korea, India, and Guatemala, where food sovereignty activists have been imprisoned and murdered for their efforts to fight for access to nutritious food and the right to grow it and sell it to their communities.
A strong position was put forward throughout the conference against the inclusion of agriculture in so-called ‘free trade agreements’, which privilege multinational corporations’ rights over the rights of peoples to feed themselves. And we continued our strong support for promoting peasant agroecology as the best means to feed the world.
Read the full Euskal Herria Declaration formulated at the conference by the people who are ‘feeding our peoples to grow a movement to change the world’!
Tammi Jonas, AFSA President