world fisheries day

Photo courtesy of NAMA.

Fisheries provide food and livelihoods to 800 million people worldwide. Unfortunately, they are being overfished due to industrial-scale fishing fleets, water is becoming severely polluted due to aquaculture and agriculture, and marine resources are being appropriated from small-scale fisheries by powerful food and fish industry giants in a move known as “ocean-grabbing.” A just fishery is an essential part of a secure food system in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally appropriate, nutritionally sound diet through an economically and environmentally sustainable food system that promotes community self-reliance and social justice.

Today, November 21, marks the annual World Fisheries Day, a day declared in 1998 to recognize the importance of conservation of the world’s oceans and raise awareness of the right of all small-scale fishers and fishing communities to have democratic control over their natural resources. The commemorative day is celebrated by fishing communities and environmental groups worldwide, through rallies, workshops, public meetings, cultural programs, demonstrations and more.

world fisheries day

Fishermen in Elmina, Ghana. Photo by Katrina Moore.

WhyHunger is commemorating World Fisheries Day by launching a brand-new Food Security Learning Center topic that explores the challenges and stories of small-scale fishers. The topic, Family and Small-Scale Fisheries, digs into the trouble with corporate consolidation and the environmental and social problems with industrial fishing and aquaculture, and tells the stories of global fishermen and women fighting for access to their natural resources.

Join us in supporting small-scale fisheries worldwide on World Fisheries Day and beyond by reading and sharing this new resource. For other ways to get involved, check out the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance’s Who Fishes Matters campaign, the programs of the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers and the resources at the World Forum of Fisher Peoples website.

World Fisheries Day highlights the critical importance of the human right to natural resources. Read more on the new Food Security Learning Center topic Family and Small-Scale Fisheries.

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By Saulo Araújo, WhyHunger’s Global Movements Program Director

I recently returned from a three-day meeting in Seattle hosted by the Community Alliance for Global Justice (CAGJ). For four years, CAGJ, along with WhyHunger and other U.S. allies, worked to organize a gathering between U.S. and African allies to discuss common strategies to fight corporate control of our food system.

No to GMOs

Convening eight African allies from five different African countries and 15 U.S. based organizations, the U.S. & Africa Food Sovereignty Strategy Summit was held October 10-13 in Seattle, the home base of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation is a major supporter of the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) that is disseminating genetically engineered seeds, also known as GMOs, and other agricultural practices mostly alien to local small-scale farmers, as the solution to hunger. These practices create dependency on specific products and seeds and often force farmers into debt. Once farmers are not able to pay the creditors, they will be out of business, without a job, a home and most importantly, without food. As Herschelle Milford from the Surplus People’s Project in South Africa points out, “Gates Foundation is on the wrong side of history and causing more harm than good to many African families and farmers by not listening to or sufficiently consulting with them. They don’t want GMOs and pesticides. They want food sovereignty and agrarian reform.”

WhyHunger stands in solidarity with our allies against the imposition of a new Green Revolution in Africa. Based on our experiences here in the U.S., we reject the imposition of false solutions to hunger that damage the environment and undermine social justice, such as industrial agriculture, GMOs and pesticides. Echoing our friends from CAGJ, we work for healthy foods for all, decent living wages for farmworkers, and the right of communities to decide their own food policies, including what to plant and what to eat. From Seattle (and from New York City) with love: No to GMOs and Green Revolution in Africa.

[read entire article…]

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poverty, migration

At the U.S.-Mexico border, surveillance cameras and military check-points are part of everyday life for those that reside in the surrounding communities. In the borderlands, many workers and their families are exploited and marginalized; ancestral farmland is taken away and replaced with destructive industrial agriculture, and fresh, healthy, local food is not readily accessible for most residents. In this second publication in WhyHunger’s Food Justice Voices series, “Agroecological Approaches to Poverty, Migration and Landlessness,” Alma Maquitico writes that agroecology, or the practice of developing farming systems with low-input ecological principles, can empower people to claim their right to healthy food.

“If human rights is the theory,” writes Alma, “agroecology is the practice.” Alma works with low-wage communities in the borderlands as an educator, farmer and leader in grassroots farming initiatives. As a Mexican woman, she writes from personal experience that, “Forced migration…is characterized by the urgent need to free ourselves, to find a way out of poverty and exploitation, an urgent quest for self-determination.”  Agroecology, she writes, is a framework for creating community-based farm systems to develop and support that self-determination, and at the same time builds a new model for agriculture that succeeds outside of the industrial agriculture paradigm.

Read the full report at “Agroecological Approaches to Poverty, Migration and Landlessness.”

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We’re pleased to announce the launch of the seventh annual IMAGINE THERE’S NO HUNGER global campaign. We are teaming up with Yoko Ono Lennon and Hard Rock International to challenge the charitable approach to ending hunger by working with grassroots partners to ensure that families have resources to develop local solutions, such as land, water, seeds and training, to ensure access to nutritious food and a dignified life without hunger.

Inspired by the vision of John Lennon’s iconic song “Imagine,” limited-edition IMAGINE merchandise will be available for purchase from November to December 2014, and a portion of the retail price will directly benefit WhyHunger and the fight to end childhood hunger and poverty. Stop into a Hard Rock Café, Hotel or Casino or go online to hardrock.com/imagine and donate $2 to feed a child for a day, $5 to feed a child for a week, $10 to start a family or community garden and $20 to start a school garden program.

imagine“As someone who has seen and experienced hunger personally, it’s so important for me to help get the message out that millions of people need our support,” said Yoko Ono Lennon. “Through IMAGINE, Hard Rock and WhyHunger are making great strides to bring us a future free from hunger where nutritious food is a human right.”

Music legends The Doobie Brothers, “Sound of Change” reggae-rock stars the Dirty Heads and singer/songwriter and social media teen phenom, Jacob Whitesides, will also serve as Hard Rock’s IMAGINE artist ambassadors in the U.S., along with local artists performing at live music events around the world.

To date, IMAGINE has helped communities grow enough food to provide more than 9.7 million nutritious meals tochildren and supported programs that taught more than 27,600 community members techniques for sustained food production. This year, IMAGINE is aiming to hit a program milestone of 10 million meals locally produced and served.

imagineThe IMAGINE campaign addresses the root causes of hunger and poverty through an approach that values families’ leadership and ingenuity and works in concert with the environment in a way that will let it thrive, grow and give back for many generations, and that places thepower to build and participate in local food and farm economies back in the hands of the community. Small-scale farmers and fisherpeople are feeding and cooling the planet through agroecological practices that value local knowledge and rights of women and young people. WhyHunger supports rural families and communities to achieve food sovereignty, or the right to decide what to plant and what to eat. By working with grassroots organizations dedicated to food sovereignty and agroecology, we create the conditions for families to achieve their self-determination and live a dignified life without hunger. Learn more about the approach at WhyHunger.org/imagine.

Take action by visiting www.hardrock.com/imagine and donating, and join the conversation with the hashtag #IMAGINENOHUNGER.

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