#FOODSOVPRIZE

The Wall Street Journal: Honors in the Fight Against Hunger

January 13, 2013
13 Jan 2013

 

By RAPHAEL ROSEN

In a city known for fine dining, New Yorkers gathered on Wednesday night to honor grass-roots organizations helping the less fortunate find their next meal.

For the first time in New York, the Food Sovereignty Prize was awarded at the National Museum of the American Indian in a ceremony hosted by WhyHunger, a New York organization founded by the late Harry Chapin and longtime New York radio host Bill Ayres, and co-sponsored by the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance.

“New York absolutely has a role to play in the fight against hunger,” said Mr. Ayres, executive director of WhyHunger. “And I’m feeling very good that so many people all over the world are working on this issue.” (The issue: food sovereignty, the notion that communities should be able to determine their own agricultural policies, free from outside influences.)

The winner of the prize was the Korean Women’s Peasant Association, an organization of women farmers in South Korea. Other recognized organizations included the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, which helps fishing communities in coastal Sri Lanka; the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguan Region, an organization in Honduras aiding landless peasants fight land grabs; and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which helps improve the working conditions of farm workers in Florida. Special guests included MC and New York native Karen Washington, who advocates for community gardens, and Olivier De Schutter, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, who gave the evening’s keynote speech.

Also in attendance was singer and guitarist Tom Morello, an original member of both Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave.

“It’s an honor to be asked to perform tonight,” Mr. Morello said. “Hunger is violence. Hunger is terror. In a world with plentiful resources, hunger is a crime. I am here to steel the backbone of the quiet heroes on the front line of the fight against poverty.”

 

Rolling Stone: Tom Morello at Anti-Poverty Event: ‘Hunger Is a Crime’

December 12, 2012
12 Dec 2012
By Jon Blistein   

Armed with his trusty acoustic guitar, Tom Morello led a crowd-turned-chorus at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York City last night for the 2012 Food Sovereignty Prize hosted by WhyHunger. The Nightwatchman was the musical accompaniment for an event celebrating the work of four activist groups across the globe fighting for policy that ends hunger and poverty. Woody Guthrie’s radical folk anthem “This Land Is Your Land” was a fitting set list pick.

Griffin Lotz for RollingStone.com“I’m a big supporter of what [WhyHunger] do principally because hunger is violence,” Morello told Rolling Stone before the ceremony. “Hunger is terror. And hunger, in a world where there is plenty, is a crime.”

Morello linked with WhyHunger rather coincidentally: For years he has directed audience members at Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave and Nightwatchman shows to the same network of food banks as Bruce Springsteen, who happened to start WhyHunger’s Artists Against Hunger and Poverty program. Morello says he grew acquainted over the years with longtime radio DJ Bill Ayres, who co-founded WhyHunger with folk legend Harry Chapin, and that the group “helped me with some friends who were in a personal situation.”
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Commondreams.org: Food Sovereignty Advocates Occupy the World Food Prize

October 18, 2012
18 Oct 2012

by Jake Olzen

The world’s leading agricultural and food policy experts are headed to Des Moines, Iowa, this week to celebrate the World Food Prize. The annual event heralds the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. But not everyone finds such achievements reason to celebrate.

Occupy the World Food Prize — an ad hoc coalition of community groups and activists — has organized a week of educational events, panel discussions and direct action to protest the corporate control of local and global food systems. The goals of Occupy the World Food Prize‘s campaign are twofold: to use the World Food Prize event as an opportunity to redirect the public discourse around food and farming systems and to shift the focus of the prize away from agribusiness to locally-based, sustainable agriculture.(Image: Tumblr)

“The World Food Prize is for us in Iowa what Wall Street is for the Occupy movement in New York City. The very same corporate/financial elites that run Wall Street are the same corporate/financial elites that own the World Food Prize and control the world food supply,” said Frank Cordaro, a member of the Occupy World Food Prize working group.

Activists have planned to vigil and “soapbox” outside of the World Food Prize three-day symposium to draw public attention to the corporate nature of the organization. Direct action and civil disobedience are planned for two separate occasions during the symposium. The first, on Wednesday, October 16, Occupy the World Food Prize will protest the Rockefeller Foundation’s endowment of the inaugural Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates building.

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Foodfirst.org: Hunger is Political: Food Sovereignty Prize Honors Social Movements

October 16, 2012
16 Oct 2012

 

 

 

 

By Tanya Kerssen

“Hunger is not a question of production, it’s a question of justice, democracy and political will,” said New York community food activist Karen Washington last Wednesday (Oct. 10th) to kick off the Fourth Annual Food Sovereignty Prize ceremony, hosted by WHY Hunger in New York City. Four remarkable organizations were honored at the ceremony, demonstrating the depth and diversity of the global movement for food sovereignty: the Korean Women’s Peasant Association, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers of Florida, the National Fisheries Solidarity Association of Sri Lanka and the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguán, Honduras.

Washington’s opening remarks embodied the spirit of the Food Sovereignty Prize, which was first awarded in 2009 as an alternative to the World Food Prize founded by the late Dr. Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution. Whereas the World Food Prize recognizes technical achievements by individuals, the Food Sovereignty Prize recognizes the work of communities, organizations and social movements to bring about a more just, healthy and sustainable food system.

 

It is an important distinction, one that points to two conflicting views of the causes of hunger: the first, championed by Borlaug and his followers, that hunger is caused by insufficient production in a growing world; and the second, that hunger is caused by the maldistribution of food, wealth, land and political power.

These differing explanations lead to vastly different solutions. The former puts its faith in experts and politicians, located in laboratories and the halls of power, to come up with the “next big thing” such as a new high-yielding or GMO seed. The latter sees solutions largely in the everyday innovations and struggles of farmers, fishers, pastoralists, farmworkers and urban consumers–those most impacted by the injustices of the global food system.

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Care2.com: Food Sovereignty – The Real Prize

October 16, 2012
16 Oct 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Bill Ayres

George Naylor, Iowa farmer and former board president of the National Family Farm Coalition, guest blogs about the upcoming 2012‚ Food Sovereignty Prize.

The World Food Prize was established by Dr. Norman Borlaug, an Iowa native considered to be the father of the Green Revolution, which centered on the laboratory breeding of cereal crops that could increase yields through the application of artificial nitrogen fertilizer without lodging (falling down).

According to the World Food Prize Foundation:

Stuart Ramson/Insider ImagesThe World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing — without regard to race, religion, nationality, or political beliefs — the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. By honoring those who have worked successfully toward this goal, The Prize calls attention to what has been done to improve global food security and to what can be accomplished in the future.

Through the years, this has been generalized to glorify all technologies that increase yields without regard for issues of ecology, culture or the concentration of political and economic power through these technologies. The Green Revolution fully ignored the role of democratic policy, which avoids ecological and social costs while ensuring that food production and food producers remain vital to their society and culture. From the perspective of family farmers and peasants who revere Food Sovereignty, sustainable, democratic foods that respect ecology, culture and diversity of economic opportunity offer a lot more than just improving the equality, quantity or availability of food for current and future generations.

Press-Citizen.com: Food sovereignty, the real World Food prize

October 12, 2012
12 Oct 2012

By George Naylor

The World Food Prize was established by Norman Borlaug, an Iowa native considered to be the father of the Green Revolution, which centered on the laboratory breeding of cereal crops that could increase yields through the application of artificial nitrogen fertilizer without lodging (falling down).

Through the years, this has been generalized to glorify all technologies that increase yields without regard for issues of ecology, culture, or the concentration of political and economic power through these technologies.

The Green Revolution fully ignored the role of democratic policy — which avoids ecological and social costs while ensuring that food production and food producers remain vital to their society and culture.

From the perspective of family farmers and peasants who revere “food sovereignty,” sustainable, democratic foods that respect ecology, culture and diversity of economic opportunity offer a lot more than just improving the “quality, quantity or availability of food” for current and future generations.

The mechanization and globalization following World War II has led to urbanization, deteriorated rural communities and industrialized agriculture.

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Viacampesina.org: 2012 World Food Sovereignty Prize: La Via Campesina congratulates the Korean Women’s Peasant Association

October 11, 2012
11 Oct 2012

 

(Jakarta, October 5, 2012) The international farmers movement, La Via Campesina, congratulates its member organization, the Korean Women’s Peasant Association (KWPA), for being selected to receive the fourth annual Food Sovereignty Prize on October 10, 2012, in New York City. This event, hosted by WhyHunger and co-sponsored by the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance and allies, champions the grassroots groups that practice and defend the right of people to determine their own food and agriculture policies.

The Korean Women’s Peasant Association is a national organization of women farmers based in Seoul, South Korea, that has developed the practice of food sovereignty within the framework of women’s rights. The industrial food system has resulted in structures and systems that harm women in ways ranging from devaluing women’s work feeding their families to corporate patenting of seeds developed over generations by women farmers to lower wages and forced labor. South Korea is a male-dominated society and a highly industrialized country, with less than seven percent of the population employed in agriculture. Farmlands are quickly making way for growing cities, the government has signed far-reaching free trade agreements and corporations are taking over the agricultural industry.

In this context, KWPA, alongside the Korean Peasants League and one hundred-plus additional organizations, created the National Campaign Task Force to defend food sovereignty throughout the country. Locally, KWPA runs hands-on training programs: Our Sisters Garden links women farmers and local consumers to ensure a sustainable and healthy food supply while preserving the rights of women peasants; the Native Seed Campaign focuses on native seed preservation in farming communities.

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Grist.org: These grassroots heroes are fighting for food democracy

October 11, 2012
11 Oct 2012

By Claire Thompson

Food sovereignty is a relatively new term, but it draws on a long tradition of human-rights activism and the struggle for social and economic justice. La Via Campesina, a global network of peasants, farmers, and indigenous people working to defend small-scale, sustainable agriculture, is widely credited with introducing the concept in 1996. The organization defines it as:

… the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through sustainable methods and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. [Food sovereignty] develops a model of small scale sustainable production benefiting communities and their environment. It puts the aspirations, needs and livelihoods of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.

It’s not surprising, then, that over a decade later, La Via Campesina won the first annual Food Sovereignty Prize, an award recognizing grassroots groups fighting for a democratic food system. This year marks the fourth time the prize has been awarded, and the first time the ceremony, held in New York City on Oct. 10, will be open to the public.

The award originated at the grassroots just like the groups it honors. Siena Chrisman of WhyHunger, the organization hosting the prize, explains that the idea for it came about in 2009 when the nonprofit Community Food Security Coalition held its annual meeting (a gathering that draws several hundred people from around the progressive food world) in Des Moines, Iowa. It just so happened that the World Food Prize was being awarded in Des Moines the same weekend. The World Food Prize, Chrisman explains, “really focuses on the industrial agriculture model” — rewarding individuals who have made technological innovations in line with Norman Borlaug’s “green revolution,” which introduced the type of high-yield, disease-resistant crops often credited with both alleviating third-world hunger on a mass scale and ushering in the era of pesticide-reliant monocrops.

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Familyfarmers.org: Korean Women’s Peasant Association Wins 2012 Food Sovereignty Prize in New York City! Mrs. Jeomok Bak and Ms. Junkyoung Lee Visit Wisconsin on Midwest Tour Fri. Oct. 12th – Sat. Oct. 13th

October 11, 2012
11 Oct 2012

Family Farm Defenders is extremely proud to host the Wisconsin leg of a Midwest tour by Mrs. Jeomok Bak and Ms. Junkyoung Lee, representatives of the Korean Women’s Peasant Association (KWPA) and recipients of the 2012 Food Sovereignty Prize which is being awarded to them in New York City on Wed. Oct. 10th at 7 pm at the National Museum of the American Indian (One Bowling Green, lower Manhattan)

The Food Sovereignty Prize was first awarded in 2009 as an alternative to the World Food Prize founded by “the father of the Green Revolution,” the late Norman Borlaug. While the World Food Prize emphasizes increased production through technology, the Food Sovereignty Prize champions solutions coming from those most impacted by the injustices of the global food system. In honoring those who are taking back their food systems, 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.
After their Wisconsin visit, Mrs. Jeomok Bak and Ms. Junkyoung Lee, will continue on to Iowa for another series of public speaking events with other U.S. food sovereignty allies before heading back to South Korea.

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Look To The Stars: Tom Morello To Perform At Food Sovereignty Prize Event

October 11, 2012
11 Oct 2012

Hunger is not a matter of production, but a matter of justice and democracy. In celebration of those grassroots activists working for a more democratic food system, WhyHunger’s fourth annual Food Sovereignty Prize champions the right of people to determine their own food and agriculture policies and the grassroots groups that defend it!

As an alternative to the World Food Prize, the Food Sovereignty Prize honors innovative organizations around the world that are fighting for the right to      food for all and dignity for those who put food on our plates. The ceremony will highlight the work of the Korean Women’s Peasant Association, as well as the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement of Sri Lanka, the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguan Region in Honduras and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers from the United States.

Join WhyHunger in honoring the 2012 Food Sovereignty Prize winners at an event co-sponsored by the U.S Food Sovereignty Alliance, the Small Planet Fund, the Lawson Valentine Foundation and other organizations to be held on October 10 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York. This year’s ceremony will be officiated by UN Special Rapporteur to the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, with a special musical performance by Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman.