Organic Consumers Association

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The Global Struggle for Peasants Seeds : A Struggle for Our Future

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

As countless farmers, farmworkers, urban growers, and consumers across the globe celebrated the International Day of Action for Food Sovereignty in October, an overwhelming number are celebrating seeds as pilar for food sovereignty. Afterall, according to ETC Group, 80-90% of seeds are sourced outside of commercial markets, that is to say through peasant seed systems, and farm-saved seeds. In the new publication, Our Seeds Our Future La Via Campesina chronicles ten experiences of peasant seed selection, saving, improvement, and re-use. These experiences in recovering and reproducing knowledge to improve peasant agricultural food production are mirrored by multitudes more in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.

The experiences spotlighted in the publication are examples of true food sovereingty in action, in contrast to monoculture and industrial farming methods that, as stated in a recent UNCTAD report, are not providing sufficient affordable food where needed while causing mounting environmental damage.

This marks a critical moment for the future of the planet's seed diversity. While industry pursues legal and instutional battles to further control and monopolize global seed supplies, the evidence is growing in support of diversified peasant seeds and agroecology as fundamental to producing healthy food while mitigating environmental and climate impacts.

Seed Industry seeks to patent and monopolize the planet's seed diversity

Despite recent political stalemates that shut down the U.S. Government for almost two weeks, the Obama administration is quietly pushing forward with trade deals across the globe. Many of these trade agreements include specific conditions regarding seeds and intellectual property rights which pose a direct threat to people's seed and food sovereingty. At the same time the government paralysis has allowed farmer and consumer advocates more time to push for the suspension of language previously slipped into the continuing resolution on the budget that would have protected seed industry corporations from US Departement of Agriculture review and any legal action attepmted against them. In a short-term victory, advocates were able to obtain removal of the so-called Monsanto Protection Act in the United States.  
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