Rekindling European food sovereignty links
22 August 2014
The Attac summer university, a gathering of over 2,700 people from across Europe, is the perfect place to form and maintain European alliances. Here I have met old friends from the food sovereignty movement and made some interesting new ones.
Many of the people who were involved in the first European food sovereignty gathering in 2011 are also here continuing to building the international movement.
After the European forum, named Nyeneli after the global gathering in Mali, there has been a wave of national gatherings and actions across the continent. It is really inspiring to catch up with the people behind these movements. We’ve been hearing of successful food sovereignty gatherings in Austria, the Netherlands and the ex-Yugoslavian countries, touring permaculture caravans in Greece and peasant markets in Romania. It has also been a good opportunity to share strategies with the German food sovereignty movement who are planning a gathering in 2016.
On Thursday I met Ruba from Palestine who works for the Union of Agricultural Work Committees – an organisation that has recently joined La Via Campesina, the global movement of peasants and small-scale farmers. For farmers in Palestine, achieving food sovereignty is a particularly uphill battle as they have the added barrier of the Israeli state. Farmers struggle against restrictions on the food they grow and buy, destruction of their olive groves, limitations on their water supply and hundreds of check points (often stopping them from working on their own land). But the battle for food sovereignty is still going on in the background - the latest example being the foundation of the Palestinian seed bank, a project which is working to save the precious seeds used by farmers in the region.
I was able to talk about WDM’s campaign against the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition to a large spread of European activists. As the EU is a member of the New Alliance (and so too are the individual European members of the G8), it is great to spread the word about the corporate scramble for Africa to a continental audience. A strong European wide campaign in solidarity with African activists will be very important stopping the next scramble for Africa.
Overall there is mounting excitement about food sovereignty in Europe, and it is encouraging to see that the movement is continuing to grow and redouble its fight against the corporate food system.
Photo top: On the panel at the ESU seminar on food sovereignty. Representatives from farmers organisations in Palestine and France. Photo above: The opening ceremony at the Attac summer university