People in 200 locations across the world will be marching today against the agribusiness giant Monsanto, the industry they represent and the crimes they commit against peasants and the environment.
Recently, six of the biggest agribusiness companies worldwide have made deals to merge into three companies. Together they will own nearly 60% of the world's seed production, and almost 70% of the chemicals and pesticides used in agriculture. Two of these mega-mergers (Monsanto-Bayer and ChemChina-Syngenta) have already been cleared by the European Commission, while the third (Bayer-Monsanto) is has yet to be submitted for approval.
Meanwhile, smallholders provide more than 80% of the food consumed in the world while often struggling for their survival and having their rights being violated. In other words, mega-mergers won't feed the world. They are companies with unsustainable practices seeking to patent and, thus, control the seeds that have been preserved and improved by peasants throughout history. It is, therefore, clear that there is currently a chasm between food production and power over food which puts food sovereignty in grave danger.
Taking the protests against Monsanto as a successful example, we, the Food and Agriculture Working Group of Young Friends of the Earth Europe, would like to build a similar movement within our network. From today on, the working group will actively connect and support the national groups ofin YFoEE Young Friends of the Earth Europe that are working around the topic of Food Sovereignty. With the focus on different subtopics we hope to cover the campaigns, activities and struggles of our groups. We want to use our capacity to share YOUR stories and create graphics and blogposts that are related to them.
Our kick-off topic for the first four months is going to be genetically-modified food. After this, we are looking for a new subject that might be related to one of your local or national campaigns. As we will have several stages throughout the year, let us know about your plans!
To keep you updated about the happenings in the YFoEE network and as an opportunity to share your local, national, European or global actions, we created a timeline which will be shared online soon. To make this timeline as packed and diverse as possible we need your input. Please send your plans and ideas with a short description and a picture to Toril, so that she can implement them in the timeline.
It's not only the start of our campaign and the March against Monsanto today, but also the beginning of the Agri Activism Project. Juta from Estonia is joining the Caerhys organic farm in southern Wales.
During her three month on the farm, Juta will get hands on experience of organic and sustainable community farming and participate in local anti-GMO activism.
We wish her inspiring, exciting and fun months ahead on the farm and a great learning experience. During the next weeks we will stay in contact with her, support her, and her blogposts will keep you informed about her experiences. After her time on the farm two more activists will take over and have the chance to meet the farmer and activist Gerald Miles, help out around the farm and campaign to stamp out genetically modified crops in the area. You can follow them right here on the YFoEE blog.