NEW YORK, October 10, 2012 ¬– WhyHunger announced today the winners of the fourth annual Food Sovereignty Prize, recognized for their role in ensuring that all people have the right to food. The winners, the Korean Women’s Peasants Association (KWPA), Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO) of Sri Lanka and the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguan Region (MUCA) of Honduras, are being honored today at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York at a free, public ceremony hosted by WhyHunger, in collaboration with the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance, the Small Planet Fund, the Lawson Valentine Foundation and other allied organizations. The ceremony, celebrated as an alternative to the World Food Prize, includes a keynote address by U.N. Special Rappoteur on the Right to Food Olivier de Schutter and a special musical appearance by musician and activist Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman.
“The four organizations being honored today have gone beyond fighting hunger and poverty in their own communities,” said Bill Ayres, Executive Director, WhyHunger. “They are leaders in building a global movement for food sovereignty that demands all people have the right to determine their own food and agriculture policies and ensures equality for those who produce food around the world.”
The Food Sovereignty Prize was born in 2009 and aims to promote the work of grassroots organizations around the world who are most impacted by the injustices of the global food system and who, in turn, are working to change these injustices.
“Food sovereignty does not believe that ending hunger is just about improving efficiency of agricultural production. It moves towards a new vision that stresses the importance of governance reform in order to allow people to reclaim control over the food systems and to hold governments accountable, at all levels, for the impacts of their policies,” said Olivier De Schutter, U.N. Special Rappoteur on the Right to Food and event keynote. “This prize is important as it highlights and celebrates the grassroots organizations that are leading the way to making this vision a reality.”
The honorees are selected for their work to promote food sovereignty by developing and implementing programs and policies, raising awareness, building global networks and prioritizing the leadership of food providers that are marginalized within the system such as women, migrant workers, peasants, indigenous peoples and many more.
“Receiving the Food Sovereignty Prize raises women peasants’ self-esteem. Even though women have been playing a significant role in agriculture, we have been traditionally ignored. Now, with this award the importance of women peasants is being recognized,” said Jeomok Bak, Chairperson of Korean Women Peasants Association. “Moreover, I think all farmers who are working very hard to produce food for people in their own communities deserve this award.”
In the shadows of rising profits for large corporate agriculture and food companies, more individuals and families around the world struggle to feed themselves, more small farmers are forced to defend their land and more fishers must fight for the right to fish local waters. The fight for food sovereignty aims to fix this injustice, while going well beyond ensuring that people have enough food to meet their physical needs. It asserts that people must reclaim their power in the food system by rebuilding the relationships between people and the land, and between food providers and those who eat. Food sovereignty is an approach focused on people and communities, not on corporations and government profits.
“It is my privilege to be a part of this year’s Food Sovereignty Prize Ceremony honoring the work of some of the most impactful grassroots groups who are fighting every day for the right to good food for all people and dignity for those who produce it,” says musician and activist Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman. “I hope that by being a part of the ceremony that my voice can help amplify the voices of the work of these incredible honorees and the millions of farmers, fishers and landless workers who are most impacted by global hunger and poverty, yet continue to work towards food sovereignty and true democracy for all.”
The Food Sovereignty Prize affirms that nothing short of the true democratization of our food system will enable us to end hunger once and for all. The fourth annual event today helps to bring the fight for a just food system to the forefront while honoring the work of the groups who fight for food sovereignty all over the globe, tearing down the myth that there is not enough food to feed the world.