Bridging Borders Towards Food Security (Community Food Security Coalition)

Fri, 12/01/2006

As the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) moves for the first time outside U.S. borders into Canada, the U.S.-based community food security movement is increasingly realizing: we are part of a global struggle. Decisions made in trade talks thousands of miles away affect the ability of people throughout the world to feed their children safe, healthy food. Artificially low crop prices devastate producers in the Global South and drive our own farmers out of business. A handful of corporations control a vast share of the world’s food industries, from seed supply to retail outlets, undermining the ability of communities to build local food security. It is clear that we are connected to our sisters and brothers across the world through an increasingly globalized food system. At the same time, we are connected in our resistance to this predominant system and in our work towards just, sustainable and healthy alternatives. As more and more centers of resistance emerge throughout the world – from trade agreements resistance to land reform, from community gardens and farm-to-cafeteria initiatives to immigrant farmer and farmworker campaigns – we must learn from each other and connect to form a strong, unified movement. If corporations can attempt to globalize our food system, then we can and must globalize our resistance. Food sovereignty encompasses food security issues while addressing the right of people to define their own food and agricultural policies. Those of us in the U.S. and other wealthy countries arguably have a special charge when it comes to food sovereignty. We must work towards achieving domestic food sovereignty while challenging current policies and practices that impede the food sovereignty of others. As America’s farming population steadily shrinks, many immigrants and refugees come to the U.S. with extensive agricultural experience and a passion for working the land. The National Immigrant Farming Initiative (NIFI), a collaborative effort of Heifer International and other partners around the country, strengthens the capacity of immigrants to farm successfully and to advance sustainable farming and food systems. The United Nations Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) Initiative, launched at the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, is focused on empowering people to shape their local food systems to achieve food security. It is a multi-stakeholder undertaking, based on the premise that collaborative action by all – community, government, development organizations – is essential to scale up successful regional SARD initiatives. SARD will undergo a global review at the UN in 2008 and 2009. Communities across the globe will have the opportunity to use this event to reiterate the call for people-centered SARD initiatives that work toward food security for all. For information about the SARD Initiative, visit www.fao.org/SARD/en/sard/2001/index.html. or email lelswick@hsihsus.org