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Call to action: #StayHomeButNotSilent – In times of pandemic, peasants are feeding the people!

2 April 2020

The 17 April is approaching. In the context of Covid-19, the question of rethinking our economic model and the importance of food sovereignty is once again a key issue.

The 17 April is approaching. In the context of Covid-19, the question of rethinking our economic model and the importance of food sovereignty is once again a key issue.   This International Day of Peasant Struggle is an opportunity to remind our local, national and regional decision makers and fellow citizens of the crucial role of farmers to produce healthy and fresh food.  A virtual campaign will be launched by  Nyéléni Europe and Central Asia (Nyéléni ECA) as part of a call to action by La Via Campesina (LVC), #StayHomeButNotSilent. We aim to highlight some of the key issues at stake and make concrete demands relating to the following key areas:  

  • Express solidarity and messages of support with all small-scale food producers, such as peasants, fisherpeople, food and agricultural workers (many of whom are migrants), and shepherds-mobile pastoralists who make sure we have food on our plates;
  • Disseminate the message that small-scale food producers, peasants, fisherpeople, food and agricultural workers (many of whom are migrants) and shepherds-mobile pastoralists feed the people and are the guardians of our food sovereignty;
  • Protect and guarantee the Rights of Peasants and other people working in rural areas (UNDROP), as articulated in the United Nations Declaration, approved in 2018;
  • Specifically, protect and guarantee local agricultural markets, stable and decent incomes for small-scale farmers, as well as salaries and proper conditions for rural workers and specific protection for seasonal and displaced migrant workers with documentation problems or residents in precarious situations;
  • Influence the writing of the Farm to Fork and biodiversity strategies within the European Green Deal, to be presented on 29 April in the European Union;
  • Influence discussions on the reform of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the European Parliament and with national governments in the European Union (EU);
  • Highlight the inconsistencies and contradictions within EU and national policies, especially the continued negotiation of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in our region;
  • Stop all attempts to deregulate GMOs, including New genomic techniques, with strict implementation of the current EU GMO legislation and prohibit patents on plants and animals; Highlight the growing problem of land grabbing, access to land and push for an EU land directive which ECVC is developing with allies, as well as other national policies in our region;
  • Raise awareness about on-going discussions with the relevant UN agencies such as FAO around sustainable food systems and agroecology.
    We want to raise awareness of the different struggles of food producers across Europe, in a way that highlights what so many decision makers struggle to see; there is a strong and passionate community of peasants and small-medium scale farmers, fisherpeople, shepherds, mobile pastoralists, agriculture and food workers and other food producers who are proud to be part of the solution to so many challenges we currently face, such as climate change and the collapse of ecosystems. To do this, European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) is running a campaign to encourage its members, as well as other small-scale food producer organisations and food and agriculture workers’ organisations that are part of the Nyéléni movement and their allies to take action on the 17 April. There are a number of ways you can get involved:  
  • You can add your local demands to this letter and send it during the week of 17 April to your local, regional and/or national governments or MEPs. Please also email these to info@eurovia.org so they can be collated. At the European level, we will address this letter to the decision-makers (European Commission, Council, members of the relevant committees), you can also contact info@eurovia.org if you want your organisation’s signature to appear.
  • By participating in our online photo campaign. Write a phrase on a piece of paper or a sign which finishes the sentence “Proud to be peasant and…/Proud to support peasants because …”. The answer can be simple, for example “…feed local people”, “…help tackle climate change”, “reclaim local land”, “…they are the backbone of our food system”, “…they supply me with fresh local food every day” etc. You could hold the sign and take a picture in the fields, on the farm, at the local market, in production areas, while eating local food or in any space that represents peasant life, and post it online. Use the hashtags #StayHomeButNotSilent and #PeasantsRights, and tag ECVC.
  How to take action?   It is simple. On the 17 April ask your network, your allies to do the following:  
  1. Download the logos you can use for the online campaign HERE and use them in your posts.
  2. Write your message on paper, take a video or record sound with your answer to “Proud to be peasant because…/Proud to support peasants because …”
  3. 3. Use the hashtags #StayHomeButNotSilent & #PeasantsRights and share your responses on any social media channel you might use – twitter (tag @ECVC1) Make sure you encourage other people to do the same by tagging them.
  4. 4. Send the attached letter to the responsible policy makers in your country after adding your local demands, and send to info@eurovia.org. The time for change is now and we urge you participate in any way possible! Help us show the world that we are proud to be peasants and are ready and willing to be part of the solution to the world’s problems!

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