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Research and Publications

Posted: October 23, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Food Crisis

From Food Rebellions to Food Sovereignty: Urgent call to fix a broken food system

By Eric Holt-Giménez, Ph.D., Social Scientist and Executive Director of Food
First/Institute for Food and Development Policy. The real causes of the 2008 and 2011 food price crises were numerous, but the fact that our global agricultural system is dominated by corporations, free trade, and speculation was neglected by most media outlets.

Harvesting Money – The Global Land Grab

By Eric Holt-Giménez, Ph.D., Social Scientist and Executive Director of Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy.The food and financial crises of 2008 ignited a massive round of “land grabbing” in the Global South, with foreign agribusinesses leasing and buying large tracts of land to produce both food and fuel crops for export.

The World Food Crisis: What’s behind it and What we can do about it

By Eric Holt-Giménez, Ph.D., Social Scientist and Executive Director of Food
First/Institute for Food and Development Policy.



Can Sustainable Agriculture Feed the World?

Sustainable Agriculture CAN feed the world, and it can protect the planet and end hunger and poverty.

Agroecology and the Right to Food

“The report therefore calls States for a fundamental shift towards agro-ecology as a way for countries to feed themselves while addressing climate and poverty challenges.”


Declaration of Nyeleni

“We, more than 500 representatives from more than 80 countries, of organizations of peasants/family farmers, artisanal fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, landless peoples, rural workers, migrants, pastoralists, forest communities, women, youth, consumers and environmental and urban movements have gathered together in the village of Nyéléni in Sélingué, Mali to strengthen a global movement for food sovereignty…”

Food Sovereignty Booklet

An accessible description of what food sovereignty is, who is affected, and why it is more important than ever. From the National Family Farm Coalition and Grassroots International.

Food for Thought and Action: A Food Sovereignty Curriculum

Our global food system is terribly broken. Together, we can fix it! In the Curriculum you will find modules, factsheets, and other materials to learn about food sovereignty from the perspectives of consumers, anti-hunger organizations, environmentalists, and Small Farmers and farmworkers.



The Daily Bread

Short reflection on food sovereignty by Werner Fuchs, Lutheran pastor and translator, member of the CONSEA (National Council for Food Security of Brazil).

Turning the Tables: People First

One-page reflection on food sovereignty by Roberto Malvezzi, Pastoral Land Commission (Brazil).


Corporate Control


Watch the trailer to Foodopoly, the film and book from Wenonah Hauter of Food and Water Watch.

The Urban and Northern Face of Global Land Grabs

Taken from a presentation at the International Conference on Global Land Grabbing, Eric Holt-Gimenez of Food First and Annie Shattuck and Yi Wang explain how land grabs are affecting urban areas in the Global North, in addition to the rural land grabs in the Global South. This shared, universal threat requires immediate action and global solidarity

Grabbing the Food Deserts: Large-scale land acquisitions and the expansion of retail monopolies

Eric Holt-Gimenez, Annie Shattuck, and Yi Wang explain how food retail corporations are behind the urban and northern land grab in this Food First backgrounder.



The Color of Food

From The Applied Research Center, “The Color of Food” reveals that racism and exploitation that exist in our food system and suggests ways to transform our food system into a vehicle of justice.

Youth and Food Justice: Lessons from the Civil Rights Movement

“Youth and Food Justice: Lessons from the Civil Rights Movement,” by Anim Steel Food First Backgrounder, 2010.

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USFSA Actions

Posted: October 23, 2012 at 9:10 pm


1. With Farmworkers!  
Stand in solidarity with farm workers and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and send a supermarket postcard or manager’s letter

2. With Family Farmers!  Push for transparency in the Trans-Pacific Partnership to make sure family farmers and people who eat are not hurt by this secretly negotiated international trade agreement.

3. With Food Workers!  
Become an ally of employees behind the kitchen door. Request a raise to the tipped minimum wage of $2.13 an hour for restaurant workers.

4. With Hungry People and the Environment!  
We’re burning our crops as fuel rather than using land to grow food. Tell the Obama Administration to waive the mandate for corn ethanol.


Other Actions

A. The Alliance’s Mother Earth Rights/Defense of the Commons Team is working to take action for seed sovereignty.  Find out more about the Pesticide Action Network North America’s efforts to fight against USDA approval of genetically modified corn and soy seeds.  We also want to invite groups to connect their local actions on World Food Day to seed sovereignty, whether it’s challenging corporate control of seeds or doing seed sharing in your community!

B.  The Land and Resource Grabs Team is monitoring land struggles. In Honduras, over 40 peasants in the Lower Aguan region have been killed in the past year because they are refusing to give up their land to giant plantations growing African palm oil to produce agro-fuel. Stand with these Honduran peasants. And in Vallecito, Honduras, the Garifunas are struggling to recover their ancestral land, so raise your voice in solidarity with them.

C.  Tell Land O Fakes (Lakes) to pay a fair price to its own member dairy farmers and to stop pushing GM. Download the postcard.

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Call to Action

Posted: October 23, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Call to Action

The following Call to Action is adapted from the Call to Action to End the Food Crisis issued by the US Working Group on the Food Crisis in 2008 and endorsed by several thousand organizations and individuals. It is included here as a springboard for future action of the Alliance, with the understanding that it will evolve to reflect new ideas, voices, and perspectives as the Alliance develops.

We call on people across the United States to use our political power and actions to fight poverty by rebuilding local food economies, and specifically for food system changes that:

1) Stabilize prices for farmers and consumers locally, nationally and globally by:

  • Ending rampant financial speculation in food;
  • Establishing and strengthening publicly-owned domestic, regional, and international strategic food reserves;
  • Suspending international trade and investments in industrial-scale biofuels (a.k.a. agrofuels);
  • Transforming corporate-oriented food aid;
  • Ensuring fair prices to farmers, fishers, pastoralists and other food providers;
  • Establishing equitable regional and global trade arrangements that enable countries, communities, and all farmers, fishers, pastoralists and other food providers to meet food and livelihood needs.

2) Balance power in the food system by:

  • Reducing the political influence of agrifood corporations on public policy, e.g., by strengthening antitrust enforcement on those corporations and reducing their unregulated market power;
  • Convening multi-stakeholder, representative food policy councils at state and local levels.

3) Make agriculture environmentally sustainable by:

  • Supporting family farms’ transition to agroecological practices through incentives, purchasing and procurement;
  • Halting expansion of government-supported agrofuels (biofuels) and transgenic seeds programs, mandates, and tax incentives and other subsidies
  • Directing state and national farm policy, R&D, education and investment toward agroecological farming and sustainable food businesses.

4) Guarantee the right to healthy food by building local and regional food systems and fostering social, ecological and economic justice by:

  • Calling on the US to join the community of nations to support the human right to food;
  • Supporting domestic food production and independent, community-based food cooperatives and businesses in the United States and around the world;
  • Establishing living wages, so that everyone can afford healthy food;
  • Implementing full workers’ rights for farm workers and other food system workers;
  • Implementing agrarian reform that takes land out of the hands of large corporations and puts it in the hands of communities for local food production.
  • Strengthening the social safety net for low-income people across the US;
  • Creating a solidarity economy that puts people before corporate profit in the US and around the world.

Through , the Earth can feed all living things.

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Alliance Teams

Posted: October 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Fighting Against Land and Resource Grabs for Comprehensive Land Reform

Land is becoming increasingly valuable, and globally, small farmers are losing their land as it is bought by foreign governments, international corporations, and Wall Street investors. Small farmers in the U.S. are unable to stay on their rural farmland, and urban land is lost to the gentrification of cities and waterfronts. Farmers are losing control over productive resources (land, water, seeds) and rights to save, exchange and share those resources; fishermen have increasingly limited access to the water; community gardens are cleared for expensive housing and commercial development projects; and farmers from other countries are often forced to migrate to the U.S. to work as food and farm workers. Changes in land and fisheries use and ownership are critical for developing just and sustainable local food economies and ending hunger and poverty. As a common link to all struggles for food justice and sovereignty, efforts to win community access to and control over land, water, seeds and the oceans can enhance and frame all struggles.



Immigrant Rights and Trade

and food justice are intimately connected to immigrant rights because in the U.S., it is often who work in the fields, on our fishing boats, in factories and processing plants, and in our grocery stores. Moreover, many come to the U.S. to work in agriculture and other industries in the food system because our system of unregulated trade, along with our foreign and agricultural policies, have in turn displaced them from their land: any approach that seeks to address immigration within the U.S. must therefore address the issues of trade. The USFSA thus supports not only the right of to stay in the country to which they have immigrated, but also the right and ability to stay home, a right which is violated by trade rules and corporate interests.

Read the USFSA’s Immigration Policy Principles for Food Sovereignty

Immigration Policy Principles for Food Sovereignty

Principios de la Politica Inmigratoria y la Soberania Alimentaria

Resources on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
On April 10 at 1 pm ET, the USFSA will host a learning call about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is being called NAFTA for the Pacific, and its implications for farmers and immigration. If you want to join the call, email info@foodchainworkers.org for the call information.

‘Free Trade’ is Not Free – Why We All Need to Oppose the TPP
by John Kinsman, March 12, 2012
“Free Trade Agreements Kill People!”
by La Via Campesina, October 19, 2011


Defending Rights of Mother Earth and Defense of the Commons

With each passing year, it is becoming more and more clear how the struggle for food sovereignty is interrelated with the struggle for the future of the planet.  We now know that the industrial agriculture system is one of the main contributors to climate change.  We also know that the people who are on the frontlines of the struggle for a just food system (i.e. family farmers, farmworkers, indigenous communities, and low-income urban communities of color) are the ones who experience some of the first and worst impacts of climate disruption – from droughts and floods, to soaring food prices, to contamination of precious land and water from the extraction of oil, gas, and coal.  At the same time that our communities experience some of the worst impacts, we are also the source of the best solutions to heal and protect our land, water, seeds, and food systems, as part of Mother Earth.  We draw inspiration from and commit ourselves to fight for the Rights of Mother Earth, a concept that has existed for thousands of years in indigenous communities around the world, and which has recently been described in depth through the Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.  Across the country, our communities are developing creative and resilient ways to defend the planet and prevent harmful exploitation by unaccountable governments and corporations.  Examples include the cross-border struggle against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline; local fights for public dollars to enable communities to harvest rainwater for food production; marine stewardship; efforts to preserve the centuries-old and ever-evolving ecological relationship between peasant/family farmers and local seeds, free from corporate control; and the global struggle for climate justice.  We look forward to finding ways to lift up these struggles from a local to national and international level.

See updates, resources & actions on the Defense of Mother Earth page



Addressing Racism and Creating Leadership Structures that Reflect Frontline Communities

As we all know, the food system in the U.S. is dysfunctional and unjust. Our own movement reflects many of these contradictions and divides – this is why the Assembly was so important and why members of the USFSA recommitted to work together to ensure that as social justice advocates, we are conscious of issues of privilege and oppression in our work together. We will learn more together about issues of race and racism, and will work together to create a leadership structure that reflects the grassroots base-building, frontline communities that are most impacted by injustices in the food system.

Throughout the Assembly, participants reaffirmed the value of a US Food Sovereignty Alliance as a space for grassroots and national groups to build their power together in the food system and to provide solidarity to each other’s struggles, particularly in the face of corporate domination. We will continue to look for opportunities to take action in solidarity with each other.

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