For Immediate Release
April, 17, 2020
Family Farm Defenders: John E. Peck 608- 345-3918 or Amy Mall: 224-764-1230
On April 17, Via Campesina’s International Day of Peasant Struggle, the US Food Sovereignty Alliance Midwest Region Declares:
To Fight the Pandemic, Potable Water Access, Fair Farm Prices, and Healthcare Protections & Public Support for Essential Farm/Food Workers Are A MUST!!
On April 17th grassroots activists around the globe celebrate the International Day of Peasant Struggle, originally launched by La Via Campesina, the world’s largest umbrella organization for family farmers, food service/farm workers, fishers, hunters, gatherers, herders, foresters, and indigenous peoples.
This April 17th Midwest members of the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) call upon all people to express their solidarity with those who are now providing essential sustenance to our communities in this time of global crisis, and to elevate our solidarity demands for a just transition to food sovereignty.
Access to clean water is a human right and even more crucial now with COVID-19 as we are told to shelter in place and practice good hygiene. Yet, this vital public good is being denied many people across the U.S. including thousands of families in Detroit, MI who are now struggling to survive WITHOUT running water! A nationwide pandemic is not the time to be imposing austerity measures that deny lower income people their basic survival needs. Many people are calling for a nationwide moratorium on utility shutoffs, and you can take action to support grassroots community activists demanding the same of Detroit Mayor, Mike Duggan. Their simple demand, turn the taps back on NOW! Detroit Mayor’s office: #313-224-3400 For more info, visit: https://frontlinedetroit.org
The COVID-19 pandemic has also sent shock waves through the nation’s food supply and is poised to trigger a fresh wave of pandemic outbreaks and farm bankruptcies as prices collapse and markets disappear. Dairy farmers are especially suffering – Wisconsin lost over 800 dairy farmers – one in ten – just last year! Farmers are being forced to DUMP MILK even as consumers find shortages of dairy products at the store. Some food banks are stepping up to purchase this milk on their own as they struggle to meet skyrocketing demand, but this is not a task that should be left to charity organizations alone. What farmers really need are fair prices, anti-trust action against the food giants, and supply management. Please contact your elected officials to demand that dairy farmers get an immediate emergency floor price for their milk ($20/100#), and that the USDA purchase surplus milk to redistribute through low income food assistance programs to those who are facing hunger. Congressional switchboard #202-224-3121 For more info, visit:
We express our solidarity with the Little Village Environmental Organization LVEJO and other residents of Chicago, who were victims of an unnecessary demolition of a power plant with state approval on Sun. April 12th which blanketed their community with toxic dust. We encourage allies to sign this petition:
We also express our solidarity with efforts in Chicago, IL and elsewhere to decarcerate those held behind bars in the interest of public health. The Cook County Jail has become the national prison epicenter for the Coranavirus outbreak, and that is not surprising, given that prisons are disease incubators and militate against social distancing. Non-violent offenders and others being held for lack of cash bail should be immediately released to reduce the spread of this pandemic. For more info:
Migrant farm workers, meat packing and food service workers have been deemed ESSENTIAL in this crisis, but the vast majority of these mostly immigrant workers will be receiving NO stimulus checks from the COVID-19 outbreak. Yet, being on the frontline – harvesting vegetables, processing livestock, restocking shelves – they are among the most at risk of getting sick during this pandemic. The latest Midwest epicenter of Coranavirus cases is a now shuttered Smithfield pork processor in Sioux Falls, SD and outbreaks are anticipated in plants from North Carolina to Missouri to Colorado, as well as on farms with migrant workers across the Midwest, both H2A and undocumented. All those employed in the food/farm system should receive the same protective equipment and government assistance – regardless of citizenship status – and this includes being eligible for paid sick leave, SNAP, COVID-19 testing and health coverage, and workers compensation. Solidarity support for ongoing and anticipated Coronavirus outbreaks among these workers will be desperately needed, and can come through member USFSA organizations. To support these efforts, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 502-415-1080.
The COVID-19 crisis has clearly shown the inherent weaknesses and fundamental injustices of our corporatized, globalized, industrialized food/farm system. But it has also revealed the path we need to take towards a more equitable and sustainable economic and social system. To make this happen, we will need to re-discover and re-invigorate the mutual aid ties and solidarity relationships that are already found and can be further fostered within our diverse communities.
As we embark on this journey together to build a better new world, the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance would also like to encourage everyone to reflect upon and share your own empowering stories of food sovereignty in action. To mark April 17th, the USFSA has just released the latest installment in its video series, featuring Jesús Vásquez and Dalma Cartagena Colón of La Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecología de Puerto Rico. You can watch it here:
We may be staying at home, but we are not silent! #StayHomeButNotSilent