Our Cause

Food is the original human fuel. It satisfies the most fundamental human need and energizes our daily work.

For our purposes, global food sovereignty is simply the right and ability of an individual or community to grow or raise an ample quantity of healthy, ecologically sustainable food. This right is compromised when individuals or regions meet with pollution from neighboring industries, corporate takeover of prime agricultural land, policies that prevent seed-saving, or subsidies that make it difficult for small-scale farmers to competitively price their produce and livestock. The riders on this tour are concerned about these barriers and have chosen a 3,000-mile bike trip as a means to explore the interplay of government and corporate interests that underlie global food production and distribution.

This movement recognizes the need for global trade but demands fair trade policy and practices that serve the rights of people to safe, healthy, and ecologically sustainable production. A central tenet of food sovereignty is placing control of domestic food production and regulation into the hands of individuals and communities. Food security movements try to work toward this by creating positive incentives for high quality food that’s managed in a responsible manner.

Many individuals and organizations have interpreted food sovereignty in different ways. Here’s another take on what it means:

“Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to define their own food and agriculture; to protect and regulate domestic agricultural production and trade in order to achieve sustainable development objectives; to determine the extent to which they want to be self reliant; to restrict the dumping of products in their markets; and to provide local fisheries-based communities the priority in managing the use of and the rights to aquatic resources. Food sovereignty does not negate trade, but rather, it promotes the formulation of trade policies and practices that serve the rights of peoples to safe, healthy and ecologically sustainable production.”
-”Statement on Peoples’ Food Sovereignty” by Via Campesina

For even more info, check out the principles of food sovereighty proposed by Via Campesina and summarized by the Family Farm Defenders, or read this report on food sovereignty by an international human rights organization. Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative offers a fact sheet and the National Family Farm Coalition has put together a nice brochure with examples of different people’s interpretation of and involvement in the food sovereignty movement.

OUR APPROACH

A bike tour positions us to address these issues in a distinctly personal and tangible way.

Inspired by the comprehensive approach of both the food sovereignty concept and movement, we will take both a global and local perspective on this ride. We’ll experience the power of food through the physical act of biking as well as in conversation with farmers, activists, business owners, nonprofits, and political leaders within the United States.

At the same time, we’ll raise money to sponsor a sustainable agriculture project in Bolivia, where the hunger pains of food insecurity are strongly felt. Our aim will be to connect with as many individuals as possible and share information about the strengths and weaknesses of our modern food system.

Read on for more detail about each aspect of our tour:

Global Perspective:

In our aim to address larger scale food sovereignty issues, we will be raising funds for a site-specific agricultural project in Bolivia through the Unitarian Service Committee’s Seeds of Survival Program. Bolivia is currently the poorest of South American countries but possesses strong cultural resistance led by the current and first indigenous president, Evo Moreles. The land and people in Bolivia have been negatively impacted and pressured by foreign development schemes for water privatization and natural gas extraction.

Our goal is to raise $20,200 to donate to the Seeds of Survival program that will go toward the design and implementation of sustainable land management systems at the local level, ensuring health for current and future generations. Our donation will account for a quarter of the program’s yearly budget, generating the potential to have a huge impact on the community.

Check out our Fundraising Page or this info sheet for more about the Seeds of Survival project.

Local Perspective:

To address our own needs for greater food sovereignty here in North America, we are teaming up with as many farmers, local food initiatives, community organizations, and active citizens as possible. Along with our official partners, we will meet with individuals and groups who can teach us about the techniques of small businesses and food security activists, innovative methods used by organic farmers, and share their unique perspectives on the challenges of our food system and best practical approaches for improving it. The specific structure within which this will take place includes shared meals, work and camping on WWOOF farms, meetings, and interviews.

Through this blog and other media outlets, we hope to inspire dialogue and build an online resource for real progress on the sustainable food front. Our overall goal is to inspire change in our political system through progressive, innovative work using the practical skills of trip participants to work for the common good of our fellow local and global citizens.

Responses

  1. I just left this as a comment elsewhere but I’ll put it here too:
    Lovin the posts so far and the idea and the whole shebang, but a question:
    Will you be visiting any conventional (i.e. mass production) farms at all?
    A suggestion, perhaps to see how things are made on the other side, and hear Why mass production farmers are doing what they are doing, and their perspective… for a more balanced approach for people who read the blog and the riders to take what they want away from hearing both sides from the source, you know?
    Just a thought…

    • Ilana/Mippy says: Ya man, I believe we are trying to set something up with a larger scale farm. The problem with the larger farms is that we can’t really stay overnight. I think we do have some tours set up along our route–I’ll give you details as soon as I talk to Amelia, the chief organizer.
      But I defnintely think it’s essential that we offer a more balanced persepctive. Our goal is not to judge or criticize any one, or any practice. Our goal is to observe, absorb, and report back. Again, it all boils down to who is willing to host us, what farms are willing to show us around, and such and such.
      And I love thoughts, especially when they’re just.

  2. Sam,

    Mom says hi! We spoke and she told me about
    the ride. Enjoy!!!

    Kevin


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