2014 Annual Report: The Year of Family Farming, Food Workers, and #BlackLivesMatter
Last year, the United Nations declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming. We celebrated the welcome recognition of family farmers in our publications, videos, public presentations, and college courses, emphasizing their role in global food security and their contribution to “cooling the planet” with agroecological farming practices. But Food First also deepened the conversation with a special issue Backgrounder that analyzed the five principal global threats to the farmers who produce 70 percent of the world’s food.
At Food First, we think it is important to highlight the people and the practices that are transforming our food system for the better. But if these practices are to become the norm rather than the alternative, it is just as important to denounce the injustices that keep people from feeding themselves; that prevent farmers from earning a dignified livelihood; and that cause hunger, injustice, and environmental destruction. We also believe in the power of social movements.
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That’s why we also brought you news, information, research, and analysis of the activities of La Vía Campesina, Campesino a Campesino, Food Policy Councils, the Food Chain Workers Alliance, the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, the fight for a $15 minimum wage, the growing movement for climate justice, the demand for GMO labeling, the striking Sakuma berry farm-workers in Washington state, the Africa-US Food Sovereignty Summit, and other important initiatives that are working to change the rules and the institutions that control our food system. We put you in touch with the growing movements for food justice and food sovereignty through our publications, presentations, videos, and Food Sovereignty Tours.
We think it’s important to highlight the people and practices that are transforming our food system for the better. But it is just as important to denounce the injustices that keep people from feeding themselves.
Because Food First’s mission is to end the injustices that cause hunger, we work on the ground with underserved communities most negatively impacted by the global food regime. Our work with the We Are the Solution Campaign in West Africa supports women farmers in the development of farmer to farmer learning materials for agroecology to counter the New Green Revolution in Africa; and our East Bay Urban Farmer Field Schools partner with urban farmers to develop sustainable urban agriculture of, by and for underserved communities.
Our deep involvement with social movements around the world—and with communities of color in the US—led us to launch a new crosscutting focus for 2015: Dismantling Racism in the Food System. Tragic injustices such as the death of Black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, reaffirmed our belief that we must create a food system—and a food movement—in which Black Lives Matter. We are committed to ending institutional, systemic, and individual acts of racism and other forms of oppression as they appear in the food system and within the food movement itself. Not only are we committed to ending presentday oppression, we realize that we must also work through historical legacies of trauma, internalized oppression, and white privilege.
This year is our 40th anniversary. We’ve seen many peoples’ victories over the years from halting the Doha rounds of the World Trade Organization to the distribution of over one billion acres of land to landless workers in Brazil and the proliferation of farmers markets and CSAs in the US. We’ve been privileged to be a part of many of these struggles and are honored that you have turned to Food First for information and analysis of how people are transforming the food system and ending hunger. This Annual Report outlines the many accomplishments we were able to achieve in 2014 with your support and solidarity. Thank you. We look forward to another exciting and hopeful year!