Duluth City Council Unanimously Passes Seed Sharing Resolution

By Cat Johnson

Cross-posted from Shareable

Originally posted December 22, 2014

Photo by Dan Kraker/MPR News

Seed activists can put a mark in the win column. Recently, the city council in Duluth, Minnesota passed a resolution supporting seed saving and sharing in the city (see video below of the council meeting). They also requested changes in state seed law to allow seed sharing without cost or germination testing.

Continue reading

FIVE YEARS AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI, THE SAD STATE OF DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS

An Interview with Human Rights Organizer Jackson Doliscar

By Beverly Bell

Jackson Doliscar, community organizer and human rights defender.

Some things never change. In Haiti, no matter the century or decade in question, one can be certain that: the state and elite are trouncing the rights and needs of the majority, the population is protesting to demand land and justice, and the international community is taking the wrong side.

Five years after the earthquake that killed an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 (no one knows for sure) and rendered 1.9 million more people homeless, the fraudulently elected administration of Michel Martelly has abandoned any pretense of democracy. Having failed to hold elections three years in a row, instead letting national and local elective seats become vacant, the government now rules by decree. It is also attacking and killing human rights defenders. The elite, in combination with foreign corporations, are seizing land for agribusiness, mining, tourism, and free trade zones. The grassroots has taken to the streets to demand democratic government and an end to foreign occupation by the UN. Social movements are also mobilizing for defense of land, housing, and rights. The US has, until recent months, staunchly supported the government. It has backed this support with “security” funding, including more than $7 million for the police in 2015, for a nation not at war against anyone but its own people.

Jackson Doliscar is a community organizer and human rights defender. Since the earthquake, he has been the primary outreach worker in an international campaign for the right to housing for those left languishing under tents, through the Force for Reflection and Action on Housing (FRAKKA, by its Creole acronym). This is the first in a two-part series.

Continue reading

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Fresh Market Announce Partnership for Fair Food

Specialty Grocer to Join CIW’s Fair Food Program, Increase Purchases from Participating Florida Growers in Support of Groundbreaking Human Rights Initiative

PRESS RELEASE: JANUARY 8, 2015

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Agreement breaks important ground with two critical new provisions — increased purchases from Florida growers and commitment to support the Fair Food Standard Council’s work monitoring and enforcing the Fair Food Code of Conduct!

IMMOKALEE, FL – The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and Greensboro, N.C.-based The Fresh Market are proud to announce their national partnership to support fair farm labor conditions and verifiable, worker-driven social responsibility in US agriculture.

Continue reading

TRANSFORMING POWER, PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT IN EL SALVADOR

An Interview with Social Movement Leader and Parliamentarian Estela Hernandez

By Beverly Bell

The social movement La Coordinadora is organizing to protect lands and waters – including the Bay of Jiquilisco, pictured here – from corporate development, instead promoting ecological health and sustainable livelihood. Photo: Erika Blumenfeld, EcoViva

La Coordinadora of the Lower Lempa and the Bay of Jiquilisco in El Salvador is a grassroots, community-led organization of 27,000 families in more than 100 communities. It is transforming economic and political power and the health of the environment, across the department of Usulután. Pillars of La Coordinadora are participatory democracy, empowerment of women and youth, and – still in the works – education and health care for all. The communities are generating income through a green economy based on ecological agriculture and fishing. La Coordinadora is working to build food sovereignty, protect ecosystems, and preserve the largest remaining mangrove forest in the area.

Estela Hernandez is a leader of La Coordinadora and its affiliated non-profit organization, the Mangrove Association. She is also an elected member of the national legislature. There, Hernandez sits on the Environment and Climate Change Commission, the body that drafts environmental legislation.

Continue reading