Village Farming in the Amazon Jungle: Penpe, Suriname

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You won’t find a lot of Big Ag in Suriname; in fact, you won’t find a lot of big anything there. With a population that barely eclipses the half-million mark — most living along the northern coastal area — the largest venture in South America’s smallest country is bauxite mining. And while there are some export food crops, primarily rice and bananas, start heading deeper into the Amazon Jungle and soon the scale of farming operations shrinks.
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The Revival of the Grain Coast: Organic Farming in Liberia

Liberia is one of Africa’s poorest nations steeped in a domestic food crisis. This is how one man aims to increase food safety and food security without raising the price.
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Sakuma Brothers: Unique Farm Worker Struggle in Washington State

Sakuma Worker’s Rights Committee. (Photo by Tomás Madrigal)

Burlington is not a very old city center and got its start in 1902 as a logging camp. Today the small town of 8,380, located in the Skagit River watershed north of Seattle, does count with a prosperous fruit and vegetable agricultural industry. Of course, the industry relies on mostly migrant families for farm labor. This is especially the case during harvest work and strawberry crops present an opportunity for workers to seize the current condition of ‘labor scarcity’ and high demand for skilled pickers during harvest time to organize for their workplace rights. And that is exactly what has happened in the State of Washington, and not in the Yakima or Wenatchee valleys but on the western side of the Cascades where peri-urban farming is increasingly big business.
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Sakuma Berry Pickers Organize and Strike in Skagit County

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Fruit farms in Washington have been in the spotlight for years, from employing children to unfair tiered wages. Sakuma berry pickers have walked off the job three times since July when this video was aired by King5 TV.
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Development Aid Programs Target Small Scale Farmers to Ramp up Production in Food Insecure Liberia

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Before Liberia’s civil war, Augustine Tamba’s farm had a water pump, a sprinkler system, and a reliable well. Neighbors worked for Tamba to grow rice, cassava, corn and vegetables in the lowland farm outside of the town of Johnsonville in Montserrado County, Liberia. Tamba had market outlets in Paynesville—20 kilometers away—as well as Monrovia, the country’s capital. Before starting the farm in 1982, Tamba worked as a bank manager in a small town nearby. After a brief stint, he returned to agriculture, “the soil is Liberia’s only bank…the bank of life,” as he explains. During the war, Tamba’s farm laborers either migrated to other countries or became entangled in the bloody conflict. In addition, the market for Tamaba’s produce disappeared when Liberia’s entire economic and social system came to a halt.
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Justice Begins with Seeds

The theme of the conference reflects part of a global social movement response to the enclosure of the biological heritage of humanity by the biotechnology industry – the “Gene Giants” like Monsanto, Dow, and Syngenta – which seeks to privatize ownership of seeds and make all living things patentable.
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The Future of Food, Dr. Vandana Shiva

Scientist, author, and activist, Vandana Shiva presented the University of Victoria’s President’s Distinguished Lecture and Special Convocation address marking the school’s 50th anniversary.
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The Wild Strawberry: a Sacred Purifier

Strawberry Blossoms

The wild strawberry has been recognized and used by indigenous peoples since the dawn of time. Native Americans have valued the wild strawberry as food and medicine, recognizing it as a blood purifier. Native Americans also have a spiritual understanding and relationship with the groundcover plant as illustrated by the Anishinaabe name for the wild strawberry, odeiminidjibik, which translates as “root of the heart” and illustrating the intimacy of the people and this wild berry.
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Somaliland Farmers Learn Math, Reading, and Agricultural Skills

Jamas Garden near Amoud

Ferhan, 33, was still a young man when he dropped out of school to help his father in the family’s fields. He quit the third grade and instead of learning to read and write, he learned to plow and harvest. Ferhan’s father passed down traditional methods of agriculture to his son, techniques that Ferhan’s father had learned from his father.
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A Dose of Gardening as the New Social Medicine

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When Meaza Birhanu, 39, learned she was HIV positive seven years ago, she was already bed ridden surviving on food donations from the World Food Program. The death of her husband prompted her to get tested and she was convinced that her death was next. By mid-2010, Maeza took up her new vocation as an urban farmer, and her outlook changed dramatically. In May, the group—known as Kalehiwot—planted corn. The rains came, the crop grew, and bushels of corn were sold on the market.
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