By Angela Kim
Food First will launch its worldwide Food Sovereignty Tours in September to teach participants about local food and agriculture (Photo Credit: Cari-Vicarious)
Food First, also known as the Institute for Food and Development Policy, is a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging people in the global movement for food sovereignty. In partnership with the Global Exchange Reality Tours, which offers experiential educational tours focused on human rights issues, Food First launched their worldwide Food Sovereignty Tours in 2010. The tours allow participants to learn about and experience local food systems, agriculture, and the social movements of destination countries. The nonprofit tours include meetings with individuals and organizations engaged in changing the global food system, including producers, movement leaders, researchers, activists, and policymakers. Through these interactions and exchanges, Food First hopes to facilitate meaningful relationships between communities and travelers, to deepen the participant’s awareness of food struggles through common interest in food issues. Take a look at the upcoming international tours scheduled for this year, currently open to all for registration.
Basque Country: Food Sovereignty and Cooperative Production
September 8-16, 2012
Experience the Spanish Basque Country, Euskal Herria, through the eyes of local farmers and activists. Hosted by the Basque Farmer’s Union, this visit will give participants the unique opportunity to learn how agriculture and food play key economic and social roles within Basque Society by preserving threatened traditions. Tour the renowned Mondragón worker-owned cooperatives, stay in farmer-owned guesthouses, and learn about the struggles and triumphs of Basque history while sharing delicious, local, cooperatively grown food.
Italy: Slow Food and Food Sovereignty in Piedmont
October 16-24, 2012
Explore the complex realities of the Italian, European, and global food system through direct contact with the producers, consumers, policymakers, and advocacy groups of the Piedmont region in advance of Slow Food’s Terra Madre conference, which is open to the public for the first time in history. Travel through beautiful Italian countryside and stay in farmer-owned guesthouses where participants will eat local foods produced at the site of production. Meet with organizations like the Italian Association of Organic Agriculture, Via Campesina, Piedmont-based Slow Food and others working to protect small farmers, promote sustainability and conserve biodiversity in Italy.
Mexico: Conserving Oaxaca’s Food and Agricultural Heritage
December 22-30, 2012
Participants on the Oaxaca Food First Tour can learn first-hand about the threats to rural livelihoods in Mexico, including environmental degradation, out-migration, and contamination of native seeds by imported genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. See how peasant organizations are working to strengthen local food systems while playing an important role in the global food sovereignty movement.
Bolivia: Llamas, Quinoa, and Andean Food Sovereignty
March 9-18, 2013
Learn about the food and farming systems at the heart of highland indigenous cultures at an altitude of 13,000 feet. Led by local guides and a Food First expert, the highland tour will involve travel from the shores of Lake Titicaca to the Southern Altipano. Participants will learn about two of Bolivia’s most important products, quinoa and llamas, by interacting with farmers and herders to hear firsthand how they have been affected by globalization and climate change.
Cuba: Agricultural Revolution and Evolution
March 23-31, 2013
As the tour makes its way from Havana to the province of Pinar del Rio, participants will learn about Cuba’s efforts to orchestrate a nation-wide conversion to organic agriculture. In partnership with Cuban agroecology experts and the Antonio Nunez Jimenez Foundation, the tour will examine the ongoing evolution of Cuba’s agrarian revolution. Participants will learn firsthand about Cuba’s struggle to take control of its food system, and will meet with farmers, professors, government representatives, and educators along the way.
For more information about any of the global Food Sovereignty Tours, contact Katie Brimm at firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Kim is a research intern with Nourishing the Planet.