CAGJ Monthly E-Newsletter | SEPTEMBER 7, 2022
CAGJ NEWS &
Get Involved! Upcoming CAGJ Meetings:
Food Justice Project:
3rd Tues/month, 6:30 - 8:30; for more info email us.
time varies, for more info email us
AGRA Watch Releases New Short Film
Watch Episode 4 of Rich Appetites: “Science”
Corporations and world leaders are currently using the ongoing food and fertilizer price crises to double down on the “need” to expand industrial agriculture, while portraying agroecology as unscientific and incapable of feeding the world. As this episode shows, the scientific evidence increasingly demonstrates that agroecology boosts productivity, incomes, and food security, while restoring ecosystems and adapting to rapidly changing climates.
The Rich Appetites film series, co-produced by AGRA Watch and AFSA, details how American billionaires and philanthro-capitalists like Bill Gates and his Foundation are underwriting the corporate control of African food systems under the guise of philanthropy. By funding industrial agriculture models, they’re harming small-scale African farmers and exacerbating the impacts of climate change.
You can watch all the episodes and find more resources, including annotated scripts with sources, companion guides, and videos of the full interviews featured in the films here.
In particular, check out our recently released companion guide to the 2nd episode (Seeds): “Privatization is not the Answer”!
Farmworker Solidarity Collective Interest Meeting
CAGJ has worked closely with Community to Community Development and with Familias Unidas por la Justicia Farmworker Union for years. We've provided campaign support, amplification, and collaborated on projects together. Now, we want to develop a Farmworker Solidarity Collective made up of individuals who are committed to creating better conditions for farmworkers in Washington state and beyond. The collective will provide campaign support and amplification (creating graphics, sharing events, turning out/volunteering at physical events when necessary) while also working on other projects that would contribute to popular education and policy change in favor of farmworker justice.
The ultimate goal of the collective is to have a group of people ready and willing to rise to the occasion when our solidarity partners need support from their urban base.
CAGJ Monthly Organizing Meeting
Orientation for new Members at 6pm: RSVP
Join us on the third Tuesday of each month for CAGJ’s Monthly Organizing Meeting (MOM)! MOM is taking the place of Food Justice Project meetings, in order to create space for folks to learn about all of CAGJ’s organizing - Food Justice, AGRA Watch and Trade Justice - in one place! Our monthly meetings provide an opportunity to build community, learn about CAGJ’s and our Solidarity Partners’ projects, and contribute to our campaigns and events. It will be a space to learn collectively about food system issues through conversations with each other and invited guests, as well as a time to create art, share food/recipes, and create movement joy.
Our first meeting, on September 20th, will be about meeting each other, setting intentions, learning what excites folks and what we want to learn about together, and coordinating how to make those things happen!
As always, new folks are invited to our orientation via ZOOM at 6pm: Please email us to let us know you're attending the orientation. All are welcome! For more info, email [email protected]
Cooperativa Tierra y Libertad Farm Visit
Join us for a field trip to Cooperativa Tierra y Libertad Farm, a cooperatively run farm founded by four members of Familias Unidas por la Justicia, the first indigenous-led Farmworker union in the US. The farm boasts delicious berries, veggies, fruit trees, chickens, goats, a horse and cow! Recently the cooperative started marketing nopales cactus, which they grow in their greenhouse.
The farm is located in Everson, WA, about a 2 hour drive from Seattle. The visit will take place 11am-2pm. Carpools will depart Seattle at 9am and return around 4pm. To attend, please register on our website and we will send more details on location and what to bring. And if you need a ride, or have a car and can offer rides, please sign up on this Google Sheet (we ask that all carpoolers be vaccinated and wear masks, and a negative COVID test encouraged). Feel free to invite your friends and family!
We need more critical media coverage of The Gates Foundation!
As part of CAGJ’s Rise Up! Summer School, we went on a field trip to the Gates Foundation's Discovery Center and then put up flyers around downtown Seattle to demand more critical coverage of the Foundation's agricultural activities in local news outlets (especially the Seattle Times). First, we went through the visitor center together, and critiqued the agriculture section, which has not changed since it was created in 2015 and contains a lot of problematic framing of "improved" seeds, biofortified foods (aka Golden Rice), and "solutions" to hunger. Then, in spite of the heat, we posted close to 50 posters around the foundation, Science Center and along Denny Ave, calling on the Seattle Times to include more critical coverage of the Foundation's agricultural development work in Africa. The action was inspired by the fact that our submissions of Op-Eds have repeatedly been rejected by The Seattle Times, including recent ones written with our African partners Million Belay and Elizabeth Mpofu. We also posted our calls for signers to our petition to USAID to de-fund AGRA. See the flyer content HERE on Instagram! And see more photos on Facebook.
Organized for Rise-Up Summer School with AGRA Watch
In response to climate change, powerful individuals and institutions are pushing so-called “climate smart” agriculture, which serves corporate agendas. Yet grassroots movements have already been implementing grounded, people-led solutions to build climate-resilient food systems. In this webinar, we heard from Jennifer Taylor (Lola Farms, Georgia, and Florida A&M University) and Leonida Odongo (Haki Nawiri Africa, Kenya) about the importance of grassroots, agroecological solutions in adapting to climate change, and learned about the practices they’ve used, the successes they’ve had, and their visions and hope for agricultural futures in a changing world. Watch the recording here.
What’s Wrong with Conspiracy Theories
Over the past few months, AGRA Watch’s core members have developed a position statement, responding to the appropriation of our analysis to serve causes we do not agree with (including right-wing and anti-vaccine agendas). We strongly object to baseless conspiracy theories about Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation, which detract from our research and organizing focused on his role in wider structures of power. Over the past 15 years, we have gathered evidence and worked with other research and advocacy organizations to demonstrate problems with the Gates Foundation’s approach to agricultural development. More recently, we have also organized in support of making COVID vaccines (whose effectiveness and safety are widely supported by the scientific consensus) accessible to all countries and people. We believe that it is important to criticize the pharmaceutical industry, mainstream philanthropy, and corporate consolidation—but to do so in a way that is based on evidence, rooted in ideas of social justice, and focused on challenging structural causes. You can read the position statement in full at its permanent home on our website.
We’re thrilled to announce that Community Alliance for Global Justice was selected to receive a $5000 grant from Submittable to support computer equipment upgrades and to invest in our website. Submittable received over fifty applications and selected four winners, two each in Missoula and Seattle. All Submittable employees were invited to review the applications and provide input to help with the final selection.
AGRA Watch campaign in solidarity with African farmer organizations
Please help us amplify and reiterate demands that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) stop funding AGRA and invest instead in African-led, agroecological alternatives. With the African Green Revolution Forum taking place this week (Sept 5-9), there is even more urgency to tell USAID and other donors that industrial and pro-corporate agriculture is NOT the way forward!
Pressure US Trade Rep today
With policymakers finally paying attention to the oversized role that Big Tech has over our economy and society, companies like Amazon, Facebook, Uber, Google and others are now trying to use trade deals like the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework Agreement (IPEF) as a backdoor means of preventing the United States and other countries from imposing new laws and regulations on them.
The massive inequalities that characterized the global rollout of first-generation COVID vaccines are being replicated today when it comes to the distribution of tests and treatments. And thousands of people continue to die needlessly from COVID each day as a result.
TAKE ACTION: Sign the letter today!
CAGJ NEWS & ANALYSIS
AGRA Watch and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) confront the African Green Revolution Forum
Stop funding the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)!
Over the past four months, USAID has received more than 1,100 letters from members of community groups and the wider public, who have expressed their concerns about US taxpayer funding of the “Green Revolution” in Africa. This agricultural model ramps up the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, corporate-owned seeds, and exploitative market and credit systems. On the eve of the African Green Revolution Forum September 5-9 in Rwanda, community groups and taxpayers are calling on members of Congress and USAID Administrator Samantha Power to heed African farmers’ concerns about the agency’s funding of industrial agriculture through the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Read the full press release.
Our Africa, Our Agriculture: African Farmers and Faith Leaders Demand an End to the Failed Green Revolution
Watch the AFSA Press Conference September 1, 2022
Ahead of the annual African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), African civil society, faith groups and farmer leaders held a press conference calling for an end to the failed Green Revolution. Speakers highlighted how the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has pushed a development model that reinforces dependency on foreign inputs, such as expensive fertilizer, undermining the resilience of African food systems. They also emphasized the need to promote African alternatives, already in practice. Read the full press release. Watch the press conference here. The event has been very successful in garnering media attention and coverage in the African press—and will likely be featured soon in some US-based media outlets, such as the Seattle Times, as well!
As GRAIN reports, the German think tank INKOTA has recently published a paper on how fertilizer companies have made record profits during the ongoing food and fertilizer crisis. It is hopefully starting to dawn on decision-makers that fertilizer prices are not coming down from their stratospheric heights anytime soon and that this is going to have catastrophic consequences for people’s access to food. More than half the world’s agricultural production, it is said, now relies on nitrogen fertilizers, which are derived from an energy intensive, fossil fuel-based production process. High energy prices and supply issues mean high fertilizer prices – and this translates into decreased food production and higher food prices. Read more.
CAGJ was thrilled to see that the Food Equity Fund - advocated for by Got Green and others on the Sweetened Beverage Tax Community Advisory Board - awarded significant funds to Black Star Farmers (SLEE Keynote) and Beacon Food Forest BIPOC Community Garden (who hosted our May Hike-a-Thon). “The City of Seattle has awarded $2,800,000 to support community-led projects through the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ Food Equity Fund. The fund is supported by the Sweetened Beverage Tax and, in 2022, received an additional $750,000 in funding with Seattle City Council’s adoption of the Equitable Communities Initiative Task Force recommendations. Read more and learn about the winners here.
Recurring opportunities to support food justice organizing in Seattle:
Get to know Nurturing Roots and volunteer Sundays, 11 am - 3 pm. Drop in and out at anytime. All ages are welcome!
Get to know Beacon Food Forest by volunteering at 10am on the 3rd Saturday of every month! You can learn more about volunteering here.
SAT SEPT 17, 10AM - 3PM PDT
Join CAGJ at Farm Fest at Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands!
Join us for Farm Fest at Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands, a celebration of urban agriculture and the Southeast Seattle community! Hosted in partnership with Friends of Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands, Farm to Table, and Union Cultural Center, this event is free and open to the public. Local businesses and community organizations will be providing additional opportunities for getting involved in Rainier Beach. Location: 5513 S Cloverdale St Seattle, WA 98118. More info here.
SAT Sept 24, 11AM – 4PM PDT
Sustainable Ballard Festival in Seattle
Location: Loyal Heights Community Center Lawn
Eclectic, artsy, earthy and committed to a better future… that’s Sustainable Ballard and the Annual Sustainable Ballard Festival. This year’s festival theme is GREEN STEPS. Join the Ballard community on September 24th at Loyal Heights Community Center for creativity, passion and community-building while learning about daily practices and big GREEN STEPS toward more sustainable living. Family-friendly, fun, FREE, and full of surprises! Visit local sustainable businesses and non-profits, catch some live music and enjoy refreshments from local food trucks. We’ll have lots of new activities plus some old favorites. Attend workshops, try games and quizzes for prizes, try some DIY projects, enjoy some free samples and learn new ways to lower your carbon footprint! The Sustainable Ballard Festival is a fantastically fun opportunity to learn together, get inspired, and discover new ways to live more lightly on the earth. More info.
Big Tech's "Digital Trade" Agenda
RSVP Today: Fall Webinar Series
The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) is a new trade proposal that, if enacted, would set rules governing roughly 40% of the global economy. Don't know much about it yet? You're not alone. Please join WA Fair Trade Coalition this fall for a 3-part web briefing series to learn how labor, reproductive rights, and racial justice issues may be impacted by Big Tech's agenda for the proposed pact. Presenters include representatives of the AFL-CIO's Technology Institute, SEIU Local 2015, Rethink Trade, UltraViolet, ACLU Washington and more. We need to ensure transparency and public participation in the IPEF negotiations so that any final deal benefits working people and the planet -- not just big corporations.
WED Sept 14, 10AM: The Future of Work: How "digital trade" proposals could impact jobs, wages, gig economy worker protections and more. RSVP for Sept 14th
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