2006 Annual Report
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
2006 has been a pivotal year for food and environmental justice, and for Food First. The massive human and economic costs of the Bush administration’s disastrous war in Iraq has divided the U.S. at home and isolated it abroad. The urgent national issues of immigration, the nation’s 38 million hungry and food insecure, the crisis of rural livelihoods, and the continuing neglect of victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita demand compassion as our national resources and political attention is focused on this ever-deepening war.
Internationally, the unregulated corporate globalization of the world’s food system continued with the felling of forests and the spread of genetically-engineered monocultures in the Global South, the destruction of local production systems by the multinational grain companies including Cargill and ADM, and the displacement of local distribution systems by giant retail stores, including Wal-Mart. Taking advantage of the growing fuel crisis, the world’s grain, petroleum, and genetic engineering industries began consolidating their hold over biofuel production, displacing farmer co-ops in the U.S. and unleashing food vs. fuel wars with peasants and environmentalists in South America and Southeast Asia.
2006 has been a pivotal year for food and environmental justice, and for Food First. The urgent national issues of immigration, the nation’s 38 million hungry and food insecure, the crisis of rural livelihoods, and the continuing neglect of victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita demand compassion and national resources,
After four years of militarily-enforced privatization of Iraq, public opinion is tipping against the war and the Bush administration. Globally, communities and social movements are stepping forward, organizing and carrying out direct actions. Peasants and environmentalists from the Landless Workers Movement in Brazil have occupied illegal fields of Syngenta and Monsanto in defense of biodiversity. Farmers, fishers, pastoralists and forest peoples in the international Via Campesina movement have mobilized against the WTO, and the North and Central American Free Trade Agreements with cries of”Globalize Hope! Globalize Struggle!” Underserved, low income communities of color in the U.S., family farmers, and social justice activists have stepped up efforts to take back their local food systems, forming food policy councils, drafting legislation, and lobbying for a fair 2007 Farm-and Food-Bill.
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At Food First, we have accompanied these struggles, researching and writing on key topics, amplifying the voices of women and men from social movements, and focusing our efforts on food sovereignty-rural and urban, locally and globally. Thank you for your continuing support in this endeavor.
Eric Holt-Gimenez, Executive Director