17 April : Day of Peasant's Struggle
- Published on Thursday, 26 April 2012 15:53
On Tuesday 17 April 2012, Reciprocity (www.reciprocity.com.au) , in conjunction with Food Connect (www.foodconnect.com.au) organised the first event ever to be held in Australia to commemorate La Via Campesina’s International Day of Peasants’ Struggle.
This special event was held in Brisbane at the Food Connect Homestead in the suburb of Salisbury. Over 20 Food Connect staff and farmers came along to learn about La Via Campesina and find out how Australian family farmers can become a part of this amazing international organisation that campaigns to put the power back into the hands of the farmers.
The morning started with the traditional LVC mistica, where participants divided into groups and wrote versus to form a poem that expressed the values and ideals important to them for the continuation of Australian small scale farmers and their rural life. As an expression of solidarity, each person in the group stood up and read out their verse, and the poem finished with the last verse being spoken by all. A delicious wholesome breakfast was then served by one of the Food Connect staff, and while everyone ate, the partners of Reciprocity gave an overview of Reciprocity’s vision to support the LVC, as well as background information on LVC history, membership and their struggle for the rights of peasants, and the reason for the establishment of the International Day of Peasants’ Struggle.
Then came the inaugural Australian screening of the La Via Campesina video La Via Campesina in Movement – Food Sovereignty Now!. Immediately following the video, everyone participated in a fun non-trivial pursuit game which consisted of answering 10 questions related to the understanding of La Via Campesina’s goals and objectives. Each group received gifts of Annette Desmarais’s book, La Via Campesina, and a framed copy of the 2012 International Day of Peasants Struggle poster.
An information pack was handed out, which included information sheets about La Via Campesina and its goal to realise food sovereignty and stop the destructive neoliberal process as well as an extract from the latest report from Grain on Land Grabbing.
There was lively discussion about the extent of land grabbing in Australia, which came as a surprise to many of the participants.
The event finished with the sharing of Australian native seeds.
The people attending this event showed genuine interest in the work of La Via Campesina and support for their food sovereignty campaign and their struggle against transnational corporations. It provided them with encouragement to continue the work they are doing towards achieving an alternative world, because they had discovered that other folk around the globe were working towards a similar goal.
*Poem created by Food Connect staff and farmers*
The first and last verses were based on a poem by LVC Youth.
The countryside is our life, the earth feeds us, the rivers run in our blood.
We come from South East Queensland
To stand together in the spirit of resistance
To work together to create hope
To talk together about our struggles
To learn from each others work
To be inspired by each others stories
And to unite as a strong force for social change
Brothers and Sisters without arms.... with pitchforks
Reinforcing the health and wisdom of our planet through food
Let's nurture soil that nurtures people
It's time to stop poisoning the land
It's time to start farming from the heart and not from the hip pocket
We will respect the people who nurture the land, who grow our food, who promote good health
And who deserve recognition for their efforts
The world should understand
the challenge of the farmer who works the land
Economy, Environment, Community - it's part of a greater plan.
Let's all grow some of our own food
Let's move towards being self-sufficient down the road
We will all be healthier, more energetic and live longer
We walk together to strive to get all of our food locally
We carry with us a spirit of revolution
The conviction that another world is possible
We will unite in solidarity
And each day we will fight for the continuation of our small scale family farmers and their rural life.
Globalise the struggle, globalise hope.