Last November at a Food sovereignty now! meeting somewhere in Bristol a group of 12 people put their names forward and constituted La Via Campesina UK.
I was one of around 40 agricultural and forestry workers, volunteers and growers/producers from private businesses, co-ops, CSA’s, Market Gardens and Box Schemes who piled into the Ruskin Mill Biodynamic Farm Field Kitchen for the first AGM. We also met with the aim of finalizing some points with regard to focus of the organisations aims, criteria for membership and preparing to begin the process of joining the European arm at a meeting in April.
LVC (who claim around 250milllion members world wide) exists as a voice for both landed and landless people who oppose the policies and methods used in contemporary, large scale, industrial, chemical agriculture as exploitative and destructive to the land and the people. They campaign to ‘reform our broken food system’ using the principals of food sovereignty as laid down at a forum held in Selingue, Mali in 2007, which can be viewed here – http://www.wdm.org.uk/what-food-sovereignty.
The only membership organisation currently representing the UK within LVC is the Scottish Crofters Federation.
Different parts of the globe naturally have some different factors facing them, LVC UK recognises that access to land is a major factor which disables those wishing to work on/with it and will make bringing these issues into more public awareness a key priority.
Seed sovereignty, feed regulations for livestock, research and skill training were other major issues discussed.
On a European level, reform to the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) to try and stop it benefiting large land owners over small will also be a priority and is an example of one of the issues which unite people around Europe and indeed the world today.
For more information please look here –
La via Campesina – http://viacampesina.org/en/
Food Sovereignty now! – http://foodsovereigntynow.org.uk/
The World Development Movements page on the subject – http://www.wdm.org.uk/what-food-sovereignty