On November 3rd and 4th some members of the VO staff traveled to Guadalajara to meet with a group of organic advocates from all over Mexico. The foundation of the meeting was an initiative sponsored by Consumers International (CI) and Colectivo Ecologista Jalisco (CEJ) called "Ciudades Semilla" or "Seed Cities", a network of like minded individuals in cities across Mexico and eventually Latin America that have both a significant population, and a determination to change the way cities deal with major environmental issues such as transportation, energy use, consumption, waste and diet. However, it quickly became clear that there was more than just agenda items on the minds of the activists in the room and that they had come traveled to Guadalajara with a political will to reverse the downward current of environmental degradation and to change the pessimistic way people think about climate change. The message was, "We Can and We Must".
The meeting was moderated by the CEJ in their home office in downtown Guadalajara. CEJ has been working for nearly 23 years in environmental education, outreach and advocacy and the Colectivo's collaboration with Consumer International began a few years ago with an effort to more closely connect Latin American cities and individuals concerned with the mission of Consumer International. CEJ was one of the most active and enthusiastic organizations and thus a clear choice for spearheading the Ciudades Semilla project in Mexico.
The key speakers included CI's Luis Flores from the regional headquarters Santiago, Chile who gave a background on CI and the Ciudades Semilla project, Jorge Berni of BerniLabs in Aguascalientes who gave an overview of non-toxic, biodegradable, biopesticides and, more generally, the interconnection of ecosystems and the need for biodiversity and Via Organica's own Ronnie Cummins who delivered a rousing talk about speaking to and igniting the revolutionary spirit among environmental advocates. The remaining members of the group were made up of activists from Oaxaca, Puebla, Baja California, Guanajuato and Jalisco. Groups presented lists of the resources they could bring to the table, as well as the areas they could use help in and the changes and outcomes they hoped to see from the collective efforts of the coalition.
Via Organica is also proud to announce its status as an affiliate of Consumers International. CI is the largest international federation of consumer groups in the world. Their mission is to give consumers a voice in the often back-door dealings of corporations and government and to protect consumers by demanding safety, honesty, choice, access to and information on goods and services. More recently CI has added environmental health and human rights aspects to their campaign, positions that are strongly supported by Via Organica and include diet, nutrition and farming elements.
On behalf of consumers, CI regularly lobbies international bodies such as the United Nations, The World Health Organization, and The Food and Agriculture Organization as well as the regional Pan American Health Organization.
The meeting was the first of what promises to be an exciting network of advocates around Mexico and Latin America. The overall 'onda' of the meeting was one of positivity, optimism, and a dedication to work together to forward the cause of environmental stewardship and global justice. The next Ciudades Semilla is scheduled for early January. Stay tuned for more uplifting and inspiring news as we grow and fortify the global organic movement.
Via Organica Joins Consumers International and SMA Poised to Become an International Seed City
By Molly Blakemore
Via Organica, Nov 10, 2009
Straight to the Source