Nyéléni Declaration

On 27 February 2007 in Mali, several dozen representatives of countries working for global food sovereignty signed a joint declaration. This is the official document summarising the first international Nyéléni forum which was held in Africa.

Nyéléni Declaration
27 February 2007
Nyéléni Village, Sélingué, Mali

[Declaration of the Forum for Food Sovereignty, Nyéléni 2007]

We, more than 500 representatives from more than 80 countries, of organizations of peasants/family farmers, artisanal fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, landless peoples, rural workers, migrants, pastoralists, forest communities, women, youth, consumers and environmental and urban movements have gathered together in the village of Nyéléni in Sélingué, Mali to strengthen a global movement for food sovereignty. We are doing this, brick by brick, as we live here in huts constructed by hand in the local tradition, and eat food that is produced and prepared by the Sélingué community. We give our collective endeavor the name “Nyléni” as a tribute to and inspiration from a legendary Malian peasant woman who farmed and fed her peoples well.

Most of us are food producers and are ready, able and willing to feed all the world’s peoples. Our heritage as food producers is critical to the future of humanity. This is specially so in the case of women and indigenous peoples who are historical creators of knowledge about food and agriculture and are devalued. But this heritage and our capacities to produce healthy, good and abundant food are being threatened and undermined by neo-liberalism and global capitalism. Food sovereignty gives us the hope and power to preserve, recover and build on our food producing knowledge and capacity.

Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations. It defends the interests and inclusion of the next generation. It offers a strategy to resist and dismantle the current corporate trade and food regime, and directions for food, farming, pastoral and fisheries systems determined by local producers and users. Food sovereignty prioritises local and national economies and markets and empowers peasant and family farmer-driven agriculture, artisanal – fishing, pastoralist-led grazing, and food production, distribution and consumption based on environmental, social and economic sustainability. Food sovereignty promotes transparent trade that guarantees just incomes to all peoples as well as the rights of consumers to control their food and nutrition. It ensures that the rights to use and manage lands, territories, waters, seeds, livestock and biodiversity are in the hands of those of us who produce food. Food sovereignty implies new social relations free of oppression and inequality between men and women, peoples, racial groups, social and economic classes and generations.

In Nyéléni, through numerous debates and interactions, we are deepening our collective understanding of food sovereignty and learning about the realities of the struggles of our respective movements to retain autonomy and regain our powers. We now understand better the tools we need to build our movement and advance our collective vision.

What are we fighting for?

A world where…

…all peoples, nations and states are able to determine their own food producing systems and policies that provide every one of us with good quality, adequate, affordable, healthy and culturally appropriate food;

…there is recognition and respect of women’s roles and rights in food production, and representation of women in all decision making bodies;

…all peoples in each of our countries are able to live with dignity, earn a living wage for their labour and have the opportunity to remain in their homes, if they so choose;

…food sovereignty is considered a basic human right, recognised and implemented by communities, peoples, states and international bodies;

…we are able to conserve and rehabilitate rural environments, fish populations, landscapes and food traditions based on ecologically sustainable management of land, soils, water, seas, seeds, livestock and all other biodiversity;

…we value, recognize and respect our diversity of traditional knowledge, food, language and culture, and the way we organise and express ourselves;

…. there is genuine and integral agrarian reform that guarantees peasants full rights to land, defends and recovers the territories of indigenous peoples, ensures fishing communities’ access and control over their fishing areas and eco-systems, honours access and control by pastoral communities over pastoral lands and migratory routes, assures decent jobs with fair remuneration and labour rights for all, and a future for young people in the countryside;…where agrarian reform revitalises inter-dependence between producers and consumers, ensures community survival, social and economic justice, ecological sustainability, and respect for local autonomy and governance with equal rights for women and men…where agrarian reform guarantees rights to territory and self-determination for our peoples;

…share our lands and territories peacefully and fairly among our peoples, be we peasants, indigenous peoples, artisanal fishers, pastoralists, or others;

…in the case of natural and human-created disasters and conflict-recovery situations, food sovereignty acts as a form of “insurance” that strengthens local recovery efforts and mitigates negative impacts… where we remember that communities affected by disasters are not helpless, and where strong local organization for self-help is the key to recovery;

…peoples’ power to make decisions about their material, natural and spiritual heritage are defended;

…all peoples have the right to defend their territories from the actions of transnational corporations;

What are we fighting against?

Imperialism, neo-liberalism, neo-colonialism and patriarchy, and all systems that impoverish life, resources and eco-systems, and the agents that promote the above such as international financial institutions, the World Trade Organisation, free trade agreements, transnational corporations,and governments that are antagonistic to their peoples;

The dumping of food at prices below the cost of production in the global economy;

The domination of our food and food producing systems by corporations that place profits before people, health and the environment;

Technologies and practices that undercut our future food producing capacities, damage the environment and put our health at risk. These include transgenic crops and animals, terminator technology, industrial aquaculture and destructive fishing practices, the so-called White Revolution of industrial dairy practices, the so-called ‘old’ and ‘new’ Green Revolutions, and the “Green Deserts” of industrial bio-fuel monocultures and other plantations;

The privatisation and commodification of food, basic and public services, knowledge, land, water, seeds, livestock and our natural heritage;

Development projects/models and extractive industries that displace people and destroy our environments and natural heritage;

Wars, conflicts, occupations, economic blockades, famines, forced displacement of peoples and confiscation of their lands, and all forces and governments that cause and support these;

Post disaster and conflict reconstruction programmes that destroy our environments and capacities;

The criminalization of all those who struggle to protect and defend our rights;

Food aid that disguises dumping, introduces GMOs into local environments and food systems and creates new colonialism patterns;

The internationalisation and globalisation of paternalistic and patriarchal values, that marginalise women, and diverse agricultural, indigenous, pastoral and fisher communities around the world;

What can and will we do about it?

Just as we are working with the local community in Sélingué to create a meeting space at Nyéléni, we are committed to building our collective movement for food sovereignty by forging alliances, supporting each others’ struggles and extending our solidarity, strengths, and creativity to peoples all over the world who are committed to food sovereignty. Every struggle, in any part of the world for food sovereignty, is our struggle.

We have arrived at a number of collective actions to share our vision of food sovereignty with all peoples of this world, which are elaborated in our synthesis document. We will implement these actions in our respective local areas and regions, in our own movements and jointly in solidarity with other movements. We will share our vision and action agenda for food sovereignty with others who are not able to be with us here in Nyéléni so that the spirit of Nyéléni permeates across the world and becomes a powerful force to make food sovereignty a reality for peoples all over the world.

Finally, we give our unconditional and unwavering support to the peasant movements of Mali and ROPPA in their demands that food sovereignty become a reality in Mali and by extension in all of Africa.

Now is the time for food sovereignty!

The Manifesto you can find here

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People’s Food Policy

People’s Food Policy
Transforming our food system

The People’s Food Policy is a grassroots initiative developing recommendations for the food policies we would like to see. It is a collaboration between actors in the food sovereignty network and groups working for a more just and sustainable food system.
A People’s Food Policy was developed by a coalition of representatives from the Land Workers’ Alliance, Global Justice Now, the Ecological Land Co-op, The Centre for Agroecology and the Permaculture Association. Over 150 food and farming initiatives, community groups, grassroots organisations, unions and NGOs have contributed to the analysis, ideas and proposals in A People’s Food Policy and over 100 organisations have so far signed up in support it. 

You can read more about The People’s Food Policy and download the document here


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The City is Our Garden

The City is Our Garden

For a few years now new forms of collaborative gardens have been evolving in numerous cities. These urban community gardens are an experimental space for a good city life.
Together we, the city farmers, will transform fallow land into meeting places, harvest our own seeds, keep bees between and on top of high-rise buildings, experiment with various types of composting and exercise ourselves in preserving produce. We advocate a city worth living in and an urbanity that is future-oriented. A public space without access limitation or the obligation to consume is very important for a democratic and plural urban society. We are experiencing that on a daily basis.

Urban Community Gardens are:
· Common goods, opposing the increasing privatisation and commercialisation of public space
· A place of cultural, social and cross-generational variety and neighbourly collaboration
· A spot to experience nature, biodiversity, food sovereignty and seed preservation
· An ambience that welcomes participation in the form of designing, preserving and nourishing, thus creating an environment for the cooperative urban society to thrive in
· An experimental space to invent, form, re-use, repair and convert
· Ecological alternatives to soil sealing, fallow land and buffer strips
· Spanning the gap between city and rural agriculture by increasing awareness of high-quality food and that certain kind of agriculture which respects nature’s limitations and inherent worth, global justice and fair production conditions
· A place of environmental education, collective learning, trading and sharing
· Venues of quietness and shared time
· A contribution to a better climate, quality of life and environmental justice
· A vivid alternative to solitude, violence and anonymity.

In Summary

Urban gardens are part of a vivid and sustainable city that is worth living in. Their prominence and numbers are rising continuously. However, their legal status is nonetheless precarious and their continuity oftentimes uncertain. Many municipalities only consider the monetary value of an area, not its impact on the urban space and the metropolitan society.
We summon the politicians and urban planners to recognise the importance of community gardens, strengthen their position, integrate them in the construction and planning law and initiate a paradigm shift towards a garden-friendly city. Similar to the car-friendly city that granted every citizen the right to a parking space, the garden-friendly city should provide urban nature in walking distance. In practice this means:
· Providing the citizens with the right to shape the public place
· Guaranteeing close-to-home, public spaces for non-commercial use and as a learning facility to the citizens
· Implementing high-quality green space and urban nature while taking the needs of the different groups of humans, animals and plants into account.
Urban gardens are our habitat. This is where diversity is gathering, perspectives are growing and a sustainability-based society is evolving. We want our gardens to take root here. The city is our garden.

Why a Manifest?
Urban gardening is more than one’s individual quest for a beautifully designed haven in the city. There is a new collective movement forming around the phenomenon of collaborative gardening. The manifest is meant to express the political localisation of the urban garden movement and contribute to the discussions regarding the future of cities and the prominence of commons.

Who initiated it?
The Urban Gardening Manifest was initiated by activists from ‘Allmende-Kontor’, ‘Prinzessinnengarten’, ‘Kiezgarten’, ‘Neuland Köln’, as well as ‘Eine andere Welt ist pflanzbar’ and ‘anstiftung’.

What was the impetus?
Urban gardens are facing an increasing number of inquiries from large corporations and brand representatives, who want to utilise this ‘cool’ scenery for photo shoots. Guerrilla gardening and knitting events in public are staged for commercials, linking ‘applied practices’ to the sale of their products.
The urban gardening movement rejects this with a statement of their own, referring to the importance of public space without access limitation. Further, the urban gardening movement positions itself politically in alignment with the movement ‘Recht auf Stadt’, highlighting the importance of urban nature, collectively used, public space as well as ecological and inclusive urbanity.

How did it come about?
The developing process of the manifest consists of four main steps: In 2012, ‘anstiftung’ had hosted a convention at the Evangelistic Academy Tutzing titled ‘Do-it-yourself cultures. Spaces and networks of post-industrial productivity’. The culture-industrial usage of urban gardening projects mentioned above was discussed among other topics. Therefore, the idea to create a manifest originated and first drafts were written, which were debated by and developed within the group of initiators.
The second step was the national second summer camp 2013 in Berlin-Lichtenberg, where two current manifest drafts were discussed among 100 garden activists from all over Germany. An open editorial group formed itself during this event, working on the manifest continuously.
In parallel to the event network conference intercultural gardens 2014 in Goettingen a small team completed the final editorship of the draft successfully; ‘anstiftung’ managed the media realisation (professional text narration, text animation and website). Lastly, the finalised version was presented during the third summer camp of urban community gardens in Nuremberg in August 2014.

What is the goal?
The authors of the manifest aspire to create a social discourse about the importance of community gardens in a public space and about the prominence of urban nature for a liveable and fair-trading city in the world. They demand support from decision-makers in politics, planning and administration to comply with the importance of community gardens through definite regulation sustainably.

The Manifesto comes from https://urbangardeningmanifest.de

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