Although the front page here is usually reserved as a place where I fulminate on a particular agriculture-related theme, I wanted to draw attention today to other peoples attempts to speak out against corporate agriculture. On Sunday at the G8 summit in Rostock, Germany, over 5,000 protesters participated in an International Day of Action on Agriculture.
Do check out these splendid photos of the recent protests, brutally repressed by police.
Via Campesina, the International Peasant Movement federation, were out in force, leading a parade of vast puppets in the shape of vegetables, in a protest against genetically engineered food, and the G8’s anti-poor economic policies.
Protests like these are also points of reflection, though. Much more thinking was done during the Seattle WTO protests in 1999 than in the period before or after. And so it was with the recent G8 protests. Activists took the opportunity, in Via Campesina’s words, to hold
the first International Youth Assembly on the right to land and to farming organised by La Via Campesina. This meeting, attended by about 70 people addressed the difficulty for the youth to become farmer if their parents are not farmers themselves. Access to land and infrastructure is extremely expensive which makes it very difficult and risky for the youth to start up farming. Participants denounced the agricultural policies that favour agri-business and drive family farming to bankruptcy. But they also presented a diversity of experiences and alternative policies that promote small farms and local production instead of industrial farming. Via Campesina also joined the Migrant Action Day on June the forth reminding that lack of access to agrarian resources pushes millions of women and men to migrate.
It’s wonderful to see the issues being brought together here, particularly over the issue of migrant labour (over which the US Republican party has so recently tied itself in knots).